Sexual Harassment: Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Published: 18th November 2008
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Almost every endeavor where men are engaged in (this includes athletics, employment, politics, and academics), women also possess the skill to perform equally and succeed.

However, gender or sex discrimination has a very long history and until now, discrimination still exists, even in the workplace.

Although women are the ones that are usually discriminated because of gender, there are still some cases where men are being discriminated upon. Discrimination on the basis of gender is prohibited in a number of state and federal laws.

What is Gender Discrimination?

Gender discrimination is unequal and unfair handling based on a person's gender or sex.

The Law on Sexual Discrimination

The main federal law that prohibits sex discrimination is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act protects individuals from discrimination on employment based on a person's sex. It also includes protection from employment discrimination based on color, religion, race, and national origin.

Title VII states that it is illegal to discriminate against any applicant or employee based on his/her gender regarding the following:

• Hiring

• Promotion

• Termination

• Job training

• Compensation

• Other terms and conditions of employment

Under the Title VII, it is unlawful for any employer to do any of the following:

1. Segregate, limit, or classify applicants or employees for employment in whatever way that would deny employment opportunities to any person or affect his/her status as an employee because of a person's gender

2. Refuse or fail to discharge or hire any person, or discriminate against any person in regards to his/her terms, compensation, or employment privileges because of a person's gender

Forms of sex-based discrimination that is also covered by Title VII:

• Sexual Harassment

• Pregnancy Based Discrimination

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Under Title VII, it is the responsibility of an employer who have 15 or more employees (this includes local and state governments)to maintain a workplace for employees that is free of any forms of sexual harassment.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted or undesirable sexual conduct or advance on the job that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment. Any behavior of a sexual nature that makes an employee feel uncomfortable may already be considered as sexual harassment.

Some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace:

• A clerk makes humiliating comments to his coworkers about female customers

• A worker sends emails to his/her coworkers containing jokes and language that are sexually explicit

• A supervisor demands to a worker that he/she must sleep with the supervisor to keep a job

• A number of workers post on an office intranet bulletin board some jokes that are sexually explicit

• An employee fondles and pinches a co-employee against his/her will

• A secretary's co-employee demeans her and refers to her by humiliating or sexist terms.

Tips for Prevention

Below are some tips for employers on how to lessen the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace:

• Implement a clear policy on sexual harassment

Employee handbooks should have policies with regards to sexual harassment. The policy should be able to:

• Clearly define sexual harassment

• State in no indefinite terms that sexual harassment will not be tolerated

• State that wrongdoers will be disciplined or fired

• State that any complaints received will be fully investigated

• State that retaliation against any person who complains about sexual harassment will not be tolerated

• Specify a clear procedure for ways on filing complaints about sexual harassment

• Train workers

Carry out training sessions for workers about sexual harassment.

• Train managers and supervisors

Carry out training sessions for managers and supervisors separate from the sessions of employees. These sessions should teach them all about sexual harassment and educate them on how to deal with employee complaints.

• Observe the workplace

Keep the lines of communication between employers and employees open. Periodically talk to employees regarding the work environment. Check for yourself if there are any forms of sexual harassment in the workplace.

• Seriously take all complaints

Immediately do some investigation if anyone complains about sexual harassment. Respond swiftly and effectively if the complaint turns out to be true.

Gender Discrimination Attorneys

If you are one of the people who experience discrimination in the workplace because of your sex or gender, you should seek legal assistance from skilled gender discrimination attorneys. They will help you in finding justice for your case.

Our expert Los Angeles employment lawyers handle gender or sex discrimination and other employment issues. Visit our website and avail of our free case analysis.

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