Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer for gender discrimination, and in the years since she won her first gender discrimination case, there have been significant advancements in the legal field – including precedent for protected classes, such as women. A gender discrimination attorney may be your best asset when you believe you have a case against your employer for adverse action taken against you.
But what does gender discrimination in the workplace look like? The first thing to note is the gender discrimination largely happens to women rather than men, although there is certainly precedent for discrimination against men, and it’s not unheard of for men to file gender discrimination cases for the workplace. Most commonly, gender discrimination in the workplace is associated with lower pay, blocks in promotion, sexual harassment, and pregnancy discrimination. Here are a few ways a gender discrimination attorney can help your case.
5 Ways a Gender Discrimination Attorney in Kansas City Can Help You
1. Seeking Equal Pay
The year is 2021, and pay inequality is still common in many workplaces – in fact, the current pay gap is .82 cents for every dollar made by a man. While this is certainly a step up from previous pay gaps, the fact remains that many women in many fields are still making significantly less than their male counterparts. Unequal pay on the basis of gender continues to be one of the most common gender discrimination complaints, particularly for women who have brought knowledge of unequal pay to employers.
How the Equal Pay Act Can Help You
The Equal Pay Act is the most important precedent relating to gender discrimination for unequal pay. Under this act, it is illegal for any employer to provide less pay or benefits to an employee based purely on gender. In a practical sense, this means that it’s legal for a female intern to be paid less than a male manager, but that female managers and male managers should be paid the same wages, particularly when both managers are performing the same duties.
The Equal Pay Act offers protections for various forms of compensation, including:
- Salary pay
- Stock options
- Vacation and holiday pay
2. Equal Opportunity for Equal Pay
This can be a tricker legal case to prove, but there are certain legal cases that are won based on this type of gender discrimination. Equal opportunity for equal pay is a type of discrimination that essentially means that, because of your gender, you have been given fewer opportunities to earn the same amount of money as your opposite-gender counterparts.
The best example of this can be found in the sales industry. For example, a successful salesperson may be transferred to a division of the company that is known for poor sales, and your old position (and clients) given to a new opposite-gender employee. When the new employee starts to earn higher commissions based on your old client base, and you are struggling to make sales in your new position, and there is no clear reason why you have been transferred to a new division, you may have a good gender discrimination case.
3. Employment and Promotion Decisions
Many people, predominately women, are passed over for jobs they are qualified for based purely on gender. This is an illegal hiring practice and can be related to a number of examples. For example, some women are not hired for qualified positions because the company or the clients of the company prefer working with men. Other times, women are fired when a company downsizes instead of men who are less qualified for the position, which is another discriminatory practice.
Probably the most infamous example of employment-based gender discrimination can be found in promotions. It’s often the case that hard-working and successful female employees are regularly passed over for earned promotions because of gender. Even decorated employees find it difficult to be promoted, while often male employees who are less qualified or successful are promoted easily and thus earn higher wages.
4. Employee Benefits
Employee benefits like healthcare or life insurance are common examples of gender discrimination. For many companies, the business charter outlines healthcare and life insurance in a way that favors male employees. For example, some companies do not offer healthcare coverage for male spouses of female employees because it’s assumed the male spouse has his own health insurance. This can be a discrimination case when the male employees of the company can easily apply for healthcare coverage for their spouses.
Another common example of gender discrimination in employee benefits is not providing healthcare for specific services, such as contraception, OB-GYN, or other specialty physicians related to gender health.
5. Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination is another form of gender discrimination in the workplace that can be particularly difficult and upsetting to deal with. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act offers many protections for discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and other related conditions. Pregnancy discrimination is related to several categories, including hiring conditions, pregnancy and maternity leave, temporary disability, health insurance, and benefits.
It is illegal for employers to refuse to hire a woman who is currently pregnant or planning to be pregnant in the future. Before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it was common for employers to refuse to hire women simply because a woman could become pregnant in the future and paying for healthcare for a pregnant woman is an extra cost the employer does not want to pay. Even now, many pregnant women face discriminatory hiring practices.
Does Gender Discrimination Also Extend to Transgender Individuals?
While states like California do extend gender discrimination protections to transgender individuals, Missouri law is less clear for employment law. However, a recent ruling in the Supreme Court has made it clear that LGBTQ employees deserve protections under gender discrimination law.
What Does a Gender Discrimination Attorney Look At for Your Case?
While proving a gender discrimination case can sometimes be straightforward and clean-cut, each gender discrimination case for the workplace will look at a similar collection of information to determine the validity of the case. Depending on the exact nature of the case, some documents will be more important than others. It’s common to review documents such as:
- Employment contracts
- Benefits contracts
- Severance agreements
For example, employment contracts are particularly important for unequal pay discrimination, since employment contracts will prove that female employees are performing the same tasks as male counterparts. Employment records are also relevant, particularly how long an employee has been with a company to determine qualification for certain benefits. Finally, benefits contracts can assist in many ways, particularly for healthcare coverage for specialty physicians, maternity leave, and spousal healthcare coverage.
Gender discrimination in the workplace can take many forms for women, particularly when women are working in fields dominated by male employers. There are several legal precedents related to equal pay and protection from sexual harassment that may be useful for your discrimination case, including suits for pregnancy discrimination and possible discrimination for LGBTQ employees. For more information about resolving your gender discrimination case in Kansas City, please contact Holman Schiavone, LLC today.