Gender bias in the workplace is a hot issue, and for good reason. When gender discrimination and harassment occurs at work, employees suffer greatly from its negative effects. Not only can gender bias result in lost productivity, unequal wages, and hostile work environments, companies may suffer from bad reputations when employment lawsuits are brought by affected workers.
The following signs of gender bias in the workplace will help you recognize when it may be appropriate to speak up to your employer about sex and gender discrimination or seek help from an experienced employment attorney.
Gender Bias at Work: Common Signs and Examples
1) Gender Pay Inequality
The gender pay gap is an ongoing issue in the American workplace. In fact, women are still paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts. Thankfully, California has some of the toughest equal pay laws in the nation, but even so, women of the Golden State earn just 86 percent of what men earn (on average). If you notice that you are making less money than your male co-workers who have the same experience and perform similar work to yours, your employer could be part of the gender bias problem.
2) Unfair Job Interview Questions
When applying for a job, be sure to pay close attention to the questions a potential employer asks you. For example, if you are a woman, were you asked if you have children? Perhaps a hiring manager asked if you plan to have children in the future. While this may come without saying, if a female employee plans to have a family, or if she already has one, this does not mean that it will affect her talents, skills, or work experience. If you find that a more inexperienced job candidate was hired instead of you simply because you are female or want to start a family, this is blatant gender bias and discrimination. Similarly, if you are male or transgender and feel that you were asked gender-skewed questions during the hiring process, consider speaking to an employment attorney.
3) Positional Bias & Glass Ceilings
Gender bias in the workplace can also be brought to light during other hiring and promotion practices within an organization. For example, if you notice that your employer typically hires women for reception or administrative roles, this could constitute gender bias if more qualified male candidates apply for the same positions. If gender is used as a basis for hiring rather than skills or experience, the right person for the job may be unfairly turned away without a good reason other than their gender was deemed "wrong" for the role.
Additionally, if female and male employees are unable to equally climb the corporate ladder together, this is cause for alarm. All employees, regardless of sex, should be given the same opportunities for promotional purposes dependent on their experience, job performance, and skills. If you notice that your employer gives preferential treatment to one gender when it comes to promotions within your company, this also may constitute gender bias and discrimination.
4) Terminations Due to Gender
If you or other employees have been laid off or fired due to your gender this is illegal under both federal and California employment law. For example, you may have been laid off because you chose to get pregnant. Or perhaps one of your co-workers spoke up about her need to be treated equally and your employer retaliated by firing her. Both examples likely constitute wrongful termination and gender bias. A responsible employer will handle terminations without favoring one gender over another.
5) Rampant Sexual Harassment Without Consequences
Sexual harassment can often help you recognize gender bias in the workplace. While companies have been made to implement sexual harassment policies, the number of sexual harassment charges are still quite high. If you notice that your employer willingly allows harassment to continue, and gives little more than a slap on the wrist to a male employee when a female worker complains about sexual harassment (or vice versa), this behavior is unlawful and should be dealt with by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Gender bias is discrimination and should never occur in the workplace. If you feel that your employer is violating state or federal sex and gender discrimination laws, contact the California employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz for a free consultation today