Even with the goal of gender equality in the workplace, there are still many male-dominated professions. For women who want to work in the commercial trucking business, construction or oil extraction, manufacturing plants or law enforcement it can be a constant struggle against preconceived stereotypes.
Sexual discrimination occurs when gender is the sole reason an employer offers a candidate a job or determines pay, benefits or promotions. Even when there is no direct adverse employment decision, comments and actions can lead to sexual harassment and create an intolerable work environment.
Police recruit continually harassed
A discrimination case filed by a Kansas City police recruit has drawn the attention of law enforcement officials nationwide, because of the case may extend the filing timelines for lawsuits.
The recruit’s complaint detailed incidents of physical assault and comments about her physical appearance. In one drill, after she applied a chokehold the trainer attacked and physically assaulted her. In another instance, a trainer commented on the size of her breasts. She also alleged that she was treated differently than the male recruits.
Toward the end of the training program, she received a memo stating that the trainers did not believe she would graduate. She quit the program several weeks before graduation.
Late filing required appeal
The recruit did not file a claim for sexual discrimination immediately. When she brought her case – approximately five years after the alleged incidents – the Federal District Court dismissed her claim, because she failed to exhaust other remedies before filing. Usually in order to pursue this type of case, an individual must first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days.
On appeal, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit finding that the recruit had alleged violations of her equal protection under the Constitution. The appellate court returned the case to the district court to determine whether the recruit’s constitutional rights were violated.
Instead of waiting for another decision from the district court on the recruits rights, the Defendants appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Many states are worried that the decision might open the door wider for public employees to bring gender-based discrimination claims.
Do not wait to file a gender-based discrimination claim
As demonstrated by this case, the filing procedures in an employment discrimination case are generally quite rigid. Filing timelines ensure case resolution while the matter is fresh in the minds of those involved.
If you have suffered from gender-based discrimination or harassment at work, a local discrimination lawyer can explain what deadlines apply. Immediately seeking the counsel of an attorney is one way to make sure that you have access to available remedies.