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Gender discrimination was once a topic people rarely talked about, and even those that suffered from it stayed quiet for fear of retribution, retaliation, termination, or damage to their careers or livelihood. Although many things have improved in the last decade or so, gender discrimination is still pervasive. Before going further into what can be done to fight back if you are a victim of gender discrimination, it is important to understand gender discrimination and its characteristics
Gender discrimination encompasses the biological differences between men and women and a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior regardless of assigned sex at birth. Treating an employee differently, terminating his/her employment, or refusing to hire an employee based on gender or stereotypes connected with gender is unlawful.
Simply put, gender discrimination is any act of discrimination based on the gender of a person. Even though that seems like a straightforward definition, many people don’t understand what it entails. Many people are victims of gender discrimination without even being aware of it. Some instances are easier to identify than others. Imagine a man and a woman doing the exact same job and getting paid very different wages for it. This is often an indication of gender discrimination. In fact, sex-based discrimination in rates of pay of employees is specifically prohibited under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (29 USC § 206(d)).
However, there are more subtle examples that you should be aware of. During Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, there was much discussion about the “glass ceiling”. This is the idea that women are held down by an invisible barrier that is very hard to break through. They can see those above them but they can’t seem to get there no matter how hard they work or how good they are at their jobs. It may be a metaphor, but the glass ceiling can be a very real gender discrimination phenomenon in the modern workplace.
For example, if a female employee who brushed up against the “glass ceiling” is ultimately replaced by a male counterpart, she need not prove that she was as or more qualified as her male replacement. All she needs to establish is that her job performance met her employer’s legitimate expectations at the time she was terminated. If a person feels that their career opportunities are less in an organization than others solely because of their gender, they are likely being discriminated against and should contact an employment attorney right away.
Everyone in a workplace should have an equal opportunity to pursue positions within the company. This means that a woman who has the qualifications and skills necessary to perform the job should be given a fair stake in the process. It is a very common form of gender discrimination for women to not be offered equal opportunities for certain highly-ranked job positions. It sometimes seems like the collusion of men in a company when they simply seem to believe that men are better suited to being in positions of power than women. Those that perpetuate this mentality will often laugh off gender discrimination accusations, referring to tradition or coming up with false qualifications that discredit the opposite gender from participating. Regardless of what they call it, it is still gender discrimination.
Pregnancy Discrimination is another common and pervasive form of gender discrimination. Unfortunately, signs of pregnancy discrimination are not always blatantly apparent.
For example, an employer’s comment that an employee, who is 8 months pregnant, has “checked out” can be evidence of discrimination in that employer’s decision to terminate her. Such a comment mocks the employees’ commitment to the company in deciding to take maternity leave.
Another not so obvious form of gender discrimination is where an employer maintains an appearance standard that imposes more stringent requirements on employees of one sex than on employees of the other sex. For example, an employer’s practice of only hiring “hot” or “sexy” female employees constitutes unlawful sexual discrimination, unless that practice is justified as a bona fide occupational qualification (e.g., the employer is a modeling agency).
The FEHA protects an employee’s gender, gender identity, and gender expression, which includes an employee’s actual gender and their employer’s perception of that employee’s gender. This includes but is not limited to, the employee’s identity, regardless of whether their appearance or behavior is different from what is traditionally associated with the person’s gender at birth.
Discrimination because of an employee’s failure or refusal to conform to a particular gender stereotype and because of transsexuality is yet another form of gender discrimination. It is unlawful for an employee to be discriminated against because their behavior or appearance does not conform to a typical male/female, or simply because the employee identified him/herself as a transsexual. In fact, terminating an employee or refusing to hire an applicant because they plan to change their anatomical sex from male to female, or vice-versa, falls under gender discrimination.
Gender discrimination is not limited to females. It happens on both sides, although the most widely recognized and reported cases tend to be discrimination against women. It is not limited to the poor or the rich. A woman is just as likely to miss out on a promotion at a fast food restaurant due to gender discrimination as one that is going after a high-ranking position in a billion-dollar company. This problem knows no boundaries and reaches into every social and economic class. Even today, we frequently hear stories of actresses being paid millions of dollars less for their roles while sharing starring duties with male co-stars. In comedy, there is a long-running undertone that women just are not as funny as men. Stereotypes like that make it extremely hard for women to break into that industry, and when they do, they often become victims of gender discrimination.
Some people feel like there’s something wrong with them for feeling that they are being discriminated against or standing up for themselves. They convince themselves that it is not really that bad, that they really don’t deserve the position, the pay, or whatever else is at stake or has been stripped away from them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, society sometimes causes victims of gender discrimination to actually blame themselves. Don’t allow yourself to be that kind of victim. There is nothing silly about standing up for yourself and demanding equality and justice.
Gender discrimination is a real problem in modern society, but no one in this day and age should think they don’t have recourse in these situations. Nor should anyone have to feel that their opportunities or paychecks are lessened by their gender. Stand up for yourself and find a gender discrimination attorney that can help you turn the tables back in your favor.
If you feel that any of the above scenarios may apply to you, you should immediately contact an experienced gender discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles. This is not an area to tread without experienced representation. The employment lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers specialize in this particular area of the law and will fight on your behalf. We will listen and evaluate every aspect of your case without having you pay upfront for any attorneys’ fees.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, contact West Coast Trial Lawyers today. Consultations with a dedicated Los Angeles gender discrimination attorney at our firm are always free, and you only pay when we recover a settlement for you. You can reach our friendly staff today by calling(888) 888-9285 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.