Few things feel worse than being treated differently or unfairly because of who you are. Sadly, such discrimination is not uncommon, and much of it occurs within the workplace.
Gender discrimination is one of the most frequent forms of such biased behavior. If left unchecked, it can not only cause serious mental pain and anguish, it may also have serious financial consequences, which may persist for years or even a lifetime.
Let’s take a closer look at how gender discrimination occurs — and what you can do to receive justice if you are on the receiving end.
Types of Gender Discrimination
Some common scenarios where gender discrimination is present include the following:
- Being paid less due to your gender, or being denied access to higher-paying work because of your gender.
- Being held to higher standards because of your gender.
- Facing penalties for acting in a way that does not conform to traditional ideas of masculinity or femininity. This could include a woman receiving a poor evaluation for “aggressive” behavior that would be praised as “leadership” had it been exhibited by a man. People who do not physically present themselves according to traditional roles and are treated differently because of it also qualify.
- Being denied a promotion when less qualified people of another gender are promoted.
- Dealing with slurs or hostile behavior based on your gender.
- Being repeatedly or maliciously misgendered. For example, a supervisor refuses to use your preferred pronouns or respect your gender identity.
- Being subject to unwanted sexual advances.
- Receiving different work assignments or fewer assignments due to your gender.
It’s important to recall that not all discriminatory behavior may be overt. Bias often comes in more subtle forms, and therefore can be difficult to prove without help from an experienced advocate.
What Should I Do Next?
If you have been the victim of scenarios such as those listed above, it’s important to understand that the law protects you. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids any discrimination based on gender, and also makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who identify and report discrimination. Retaliation may include overt acts such as demotions or pay cuts, or more subtle behavior, such as exclusion from meetings or directing co-workers to isolate a colleague socially.
Victims of gender discrimination can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It’s important to understand that such actions must be taken within a specific timeframe (300 days from the last discriminatory act) or the statute of limitations will expire.
In addition to federal laws, Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act also forbids gender discrimination. Victims of discrimination can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Filing a lawsuit may be the next step, depending on the outcome of the administrative complaint process, and/or the receipt of the “Right to Sue” status from the federal government.
Negotiating this process can be tricky, so it is advisable to work with a local attorney who has extensive experience in this area.
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