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What is gender discrimination?

Gender discrimination in the workplace is, unfortunately, an ongoing issue. Despite the fact that strong laws exist to prevent the issue, you may fall victim to discriminatory practices at your job. According to the Pew Research Center, 42 percent of women say they face workplace discrimination. This is a disturbing number that shows the seriousness of this problem.

But what exactly constitutes gender discrimination? It often takes various forms, some more obvious than others. Here is a quick overview of what unfair treatment of women looks like in professional settings.

Employment decisions

Discrimination against female employees may occur during work situations. For example, if an employer hires, fires, pays, assigns jobs, promotes, trains or lays off employees differently because of their gender, this is illegal. No condition or term of employment should hinge on the gender or sex of an employee. 

Policies and practices

The policies of your employer must be fair and treat everyone equally. Your employer cannot enact any policy or practice that negatively impacts people of a certain gender. This is especially true if the policy is not crucial to the operation of the company.

Sexual harassment

Another common type of sex and gender discrimination is harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace takes two main forms:

  • Hostile work environment: Pervasive or constant sexual comments, requests, advances or other inappropriate conduct.
  • Quid pro quo: When an employment benefit is contingent on whether a sexual favor is given. For instance, a supervisor may offer a promotion to a female employee if she fulfills certain sexual demands.

Harassers may be bosses, managers, co-workers or even customers. 

There should be no tolerance of any type of gender discrimination at your job. Whether your employer actively discriminates you or ignores problems you are experiencing with clients, you may be able to take legal action. 

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