Discrimination in the workplace can limit your job opportunity and earning ability, so it’s important to seek justice for yourself if you believe you’re a victim of gender discrimination in Jackson County, Missouri. When you believe you’re a victim of gender discrimination, it’s best to hire a gender discrimination lawyer who is knowledgeable about the Missouri laws on employment discrimination.
What Constitutes Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?
Missouri has a robust definition of discrimination in the workplace that applies to race, skin color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender. In Missouri, it is illegal to discriminate against any protected class, and employers can face hefty financial penalties for discrimination.
For gender discrimination, this means that employers are not able to discriminate against you during hiring, training, recruitment, or termination. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to discriminate against gender in the classification of your job, your compensation, promotions, the use of company facilities, retirement plans, or health benefits. The terms and conditions of your employment are also not allowed to be influenced by your gender.
Gender Discrimination According to the Missouri Human Rights Act
The Missouri Human Rights Act provides several protections to protected classes in Missouri. Under this act, it is illegal for employers to have discriminatory practices such as sexual harassment, retaliation against discrimination complaints, denial of employment opportunities due to gender, or asking certain pre-employment questions.
For example, an employer in Missouri cannot ask a woman if she plans on having a child while employed, as this is a form of discrimination through pre-employment questions. The reason an employer may ask about future child planning, despite this being a gross violation of a potential employee’s personal life, is because an employer may not want to pay for maternity leave or health benefits that are specific to pregnant women.
Examples of Gender Discrimination
For people who have been subjected to gender discrimination in the workplace, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether your situation qualifies as gender discrimination or another form of workplace misconduct. A few of the most prominent real-world examples of gender discrimination in the workplace include:
Unequal pay is the most common form of gender discrimination in the workplace. Contrary to what employers want employees to believe, it is not illegal for employees to compare paychecks. In fact, employees who openly discuss paychecks will learn about unequal pay, particularly people in protected classes who are making less than their counterparts.
The pay gap between men and women is still relevant in this decade. If you learn that a male counterpart is earning more than you though you work in the same position, or if you learn that someone in a lower position than you is making more money, you are likely experiencing gender discrimination through unequal pay.
Sometimes, employers have unfair evaluations for people who are in protected classes. For example, women may be subjected to stricter job requirements than men who are working in the same position.
To illustrate, if you and a male counterpart were both tasked with securing a client and you both failed, but your employer only punished you, it’s possible that your employer has subjected you to unfair evaluations for your job. Sometimes, unfair valuations based on gender discrimination can even lead to the loss of a promotion or other job opportunities.
Pregnancy discrimination can occur through pre-employment questions and while you have the job. For example, if your employer fires you or limits your pay after a pregnancy, this is a form of gender discrimination. Demotions after pregnancy may sometimes be masked as a missed employment opportunity due to maternity leave.
However, if you are more qualified for the job, and you have more experience, your employer should consider you for a promotion regardless of your pregnancy or maternity leave status. Discrimination can also apply to men who take paternity leave after the birth of a child.
Finally, sexual harassment is another form of gender discrimination. Although sexual harassment in the workplace is often considered a separate act of workplace abuse, it falls under the category of gender discrimination because male counterparts are far less likely to experience sexual harassment.
Unwanted sexual advances, sexual contact, or other forms of sexual harassment all qualify as gender discrimination. In particular, if your job is contingent on the return of sexual favors from your employer, you are entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer for sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
How Can a Gender Discrimination Lawyer in Jackson County, Missouri Help?
When you’re a victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, it’s always a good idea to contact a gender discrimination lawyer in Jackson County, Missouri to evaluate your case. A lawyer knows the specific laws that will apply to your gender discrimination case and will be able to guide you through the process of filing a complaint or a lawsuit.
File a Complaint of Discrimination
Much of the time, your first step to seeking justice for gender discrimination in the workplace is to file a complaint of discrimination. Filing a complaint of discrimination will start an investigation into your case. The investigation against your employer will assess any illegal discriminatory practices committed by your employer relative to your employment and the employment of other people in your protected class.
Protect Your Employment
A lawyer can also protect your employment while an investigation is pending. Although employers in Missouri are not allowed to retaliate against employees who file complaints of discrimination, there still may be some employers who terminate or demote employees anyway. A lawyer can ensure you can keep your job and receive compensation for your work.
File a Lawsuit
In some cases, a lawyer will encourage you to file a lawsuit against your employer along with a complaint of discrimination. A lawsuit is most appropriate for cases where gender discrimination has cost you a significant loss of potential earnings, employment opportunities, health, or other compensation for your work. If you are filing a lawsuit against your employer for discriminatory employment practices, there are several things you need to prove through a lawsuit.
For example, you need to prove that you are a protected class, that you have the correct job qualifications for your position, that you lost a job opportunity due to discrimination, and that your employer has a history of discriminatory actions. Specifically, the history of discriminatory actions can apply to your employment or to other people within a protected class who are also employed by your employer.
Do You Need to Prove a Hostile Work Environment?
In most cases, no, it’s not necessary to provide evidence of a hostile work environment. In Missouri, a hostile work environment is defined as a workplace where an employee faces harassment or discrimination over several months or years. A hostile workplace can be damaging to your earning ability, psychological health, and physical health. However, you can file a gender discrimination case without a hostile workplace complaint.
Gender discrimination in the workplace is still a huge problem in the modern era. Whether your gender discrimination includes sexual harassment, the loss of job opportunities, unequal pay, or unfair evaluation, gender discrimination can be damaging to your career. If you think you’ve been a victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, get in touch with a gender discrimination lawyer at Holman Schiavone, LLC in Jackson County, Missouri today.