What to Know if You are Being Gender Discriminated at Work

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A Brief History

Most employers run companies in which people are treated with fairness and dignity. This kind of work environment fosters productivity, openness, and a collaborative spirit. Unfortunately, not all workplaces are like this. Indeed, your company may have been a good place to work when you arrived but changed suddenly when a new management team was brought in. This happens often, and it can be difficult to cope with. To go from being someone whose contributions are valued by the company to being someone who is discriminated against owing to your gender is hard; however, you must respond to it in a fair-minded, methodical, and determined way.

If you find yourself trapped in an organization that seems to have turned sexist overnight, the last thing you want to do is walk away. Quitting may seem like an act of defiance, but it is in fact just the opposite. One of the main aims of gender discrimination is to force out all those who will not resign themselves to it. Gender discrimination is the conscious or unconscious act of deciding employment, promotion, pay, and other career-related matters on the basis of sex. If you believe you have been unfairly treated in the workplace because you are a woman, then you should get to the bottom of it. And you can start by confronting the person you suspect of bias.

Before accusing anyone in your organization of gender discrimination, you should consider other possibilities. You should first discuss the matter with your immediate superior. If they have made a succession of decisions that negatively affect your job and future prospects with the company, then you should question them about it. It may turn out that you misunderstood the situation, and that far from harming you they were trying to put you on a more promising path. They may know something that you don’t about future opportunities in the company and may have been trying to put you in a position of taking advantage of them.

If this is not the case, if the meeting with your manager devolves into denials, disingenuous excuses, and unsubstantiated accusations by them, then you will need to elevate your complaint to the proper authorities. Your company will have guidelines for reporting such abuses. You should follow them. You should not deviate from the instructions on how to file a gender discrimination complaint; however, you need not simply sit on your hands while the abuse continues.

Digging Deeper

Actions to Take if You Have Been Discriminated Against

Being discriminated against because you are a woman can leave you feeling low and without value at work. It is perfectly natural to harbor such emotions. However, there are other feelings and passions to conjure, such as your sense of right and justice. You have worked hard to attain your position in the company. To have that arbitrarily stripped from you is not right and should be fought against. Here are some of the actions you can take on your own after you have submitted your gender discrimination complaint:

  1. Do your own research: If the person engaging in the discriminatory conduct is new to the company, you will not be able to go to your women colleagues to ask about their experiences with him. It doesn’t follow, however, that the information is not out there. In fact, you will be surprised at how much information about such people is available to the public. This is especially the case in high-end professions in which people tend to circulate among a small group of companies. Such professions tend to have social media forums for the women in them. You should join one or two of them, anonymously, and see what you can find out about the person you are going up against. Chances are he has discriminated against women in other companies.
  2. Keep a journal or log: You should keep a record of your encounters with the person. Maintaining a log of the instances in which the person made an inappropriate comment or decision can strengthen your case against them. It can also serve as an aid to your own memory when you are asked to recall things that were said to you.
  3. Forward all communications to your personal accounts: In the course of doing your job, you will still need to communicate with the person who is mistreating you. You should forward all emails, text messages, and voice mail messages to your personal accounts. If you are forced into taking legal action against the company, access to this content will be cut off. It is important to have a record of everything he said and wrote to you.

The Damages You Can Claim

Gender discrimination is against federal and state law. Any company found guilty of doing can be held liable. If the complaint you filed against the person you suspect of acting unfairly toward you is not taken seriously, then you will need to get help from outside of the company. Hiring an employment attorney in Los Angeles who specializes in gender discrimination cases will allow you to move forward in your search for justice.

Hiring a gender discrimination attorney does not commit you to filing suit against your employer. In most instances, the company will want to avoid such action. Once you file suit, it becomes a matter of public record, and your company will not want to be the subject of scandal or even the hint of it.

Your employment lawyer will be sympathetic to your case. They will provide you with the mental and emotional support you need to get through the ordeal. But most importantly, the employment attorney in Los Angeles will act as an advocate for your interests. Their primary aim will be to get you justice in the form of monetary compensation, opportunity, and changes in workplace policy.

If you have been denied promotion owing to gender discrimination or regular rises in pay owing to the same, then you can claim damages for whatever amount this adds up to. The stress and strain of being discriminated against will have taken a toll on your mental and physical health. The entire ordeal may have required you to take medication to cope with the stress. You can demand compensation for pain and suffering and for any medical treatment you have had to undergo because of the way you were treated.

Proving Your Case

Gender discrimination is not as hard to prove as most people think. Such discrimination rarely comes in the form of openly derogatory comments. Your case is unlikely to rest merely on what may have been said to you by your boss. Instead, his concrete and provable actions are what will be examined and the failure of the company to respond appropriately to your complaints.

Your gender discrimination attorney will gather the evidence necessary to prove the sudden reverses in your fortune. West coast employment lawyers who specialize in this field have handled many cases like yours. They will know what to look for and how to obtain it. They will also know how to build the kind of case against your employer that will compel them to offer a fair and adequate settlement.

In the end, it is better to settle the matter out of court. It will save you a costly trial. West coast employment lawyers know how to bring the matter to this most advantageous end.

If you have been unfairly treated at work, you should first try to solve the problem with management. If this fails, you should consult with an employment attorney in Los Angeles.

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you think gender discrimination is a problem in today’s workplace?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Karsten, Margaret Foegen.  Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Workplace: Emerging Issues and Enduring Challenges.  Praeger, 2016.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Trevor Stone from Lakewood, CO, USA of a 2008 DNC protest, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  This image was originally posted to Flickr by trevorstone at https://flickr.com/photos/29875182@N08/2795849284. It was reviewed on  by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland