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When discussing gender discrimination, it is important to define what sexual discrimination is and what it is not. A broad definition of this term can be applied in a variety of settings such as the workplace, exclusive clubs, sports teams and any other group that excludes or discriminates against a person based on their gender. While women are typically the victims of gender bias, there are certain circumstances where men may become victims of the same type of unfavorable and unfair treatment.
The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sex discrimination as it strictly relates to employees or job applicants. Officially, the EEOC defines sex discrimination as treating a person unfairly based on their gender. In addition to a person’s biological gender, this type of discrimination includes gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination that affects transgender people, lesbians and gay men.
Based on the law, it is illegal to discriminate against a person based on gender when hiring, promoting, firing, paying, training, laying off or assigning projects. Essentially, if a company makes unfair decisions based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identification instead of that person’s work history, capabilities and credentials, then they can be charged with sexual discrimination.
Harassment is a common behavior associated with sexual discrimination. Sexual harassment includes a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle actions that can be physical, verbal or both. Examples of this type of harassment are unwelcome touching and requests for sex. Offensive remarks of a sexual nature are also considered off-limits legally since it contributes to a hostile working environment.
Typically, people think of sexual discrimination in terms of a male harassing a female. This thinking is erroneous since sexual harassment can also occur between people of the same sex. There are also some cases where females harass males sexually.
If you are discriminated against sexually, it is necessary to get legal advice about how to proceed. It makes sense to hire specialists like West Coast Employment Lawyers since they know the “ins” and “outs” of employment law and can give you good advice. A gender discrimination lawyer is an expert in the complex legal landscape surrounding sexual discrimination. When your career and livelihood are at stake, it is important to hire the best.
Causes of Sexual Discrimination
There are many theories about why sexual discrimination is a problem. Since so much of this bias is aimed predominately against women, the Small Business Chronicle believes that the patriarchal culture that dominates most countries is to blame for sexual discrimination to a large extent. Whether it is advertising, religion, or simply the prevailing attitude passed down from generation to generation, patriarchal culture reinforces the belief that men are more worthy, smarter and stronger.
Many religions do not allow women to participate at the highest levels, instead promoting the idea that men are the head of the family. As children, these types of social cues are constant reminders that boys are more important than girls. Many brothers are told to look out for their sisters when they leave the house, to protect them. While times are changing slowly, there are still too many households where girls learn at a young age that they are fragile damsels in distress.
Objectification of Women
Boys are taught by their fathers, brothers and peers to seek out attractive girls and women that conform to a specific physical type. While the definition of a sex symbol often differs depending on the country or decade, the idea that boys and men begin leering at girly magazines in their early teens or even earlier teaches them to reduce women to sexual objects.
Hypersexualized images in comic books, movies, television shows, and magazines reinforce the belief that women are made for one thing. Pornography only adds to these images of women who are used and abused by men. Small Business Chronicle cites RAINN’s statistics about 1 out of every 6 women being sexually assaulted, with less than 3 percent of those assailants being convicted and going to jail. These minimal numbers do little to deter men from assaulting women and subtly tells them that they can do what they want to women.
The workplace can be an unwelcoming environment for women, especially in male dominated professions where there are historically few if any women on the job. Many men believe women aren’t capable of doing certain jobs equally well. Firefighters, police officers, military personnel and sports teams where strength and athleticism are considered crucial to get the job done are professions where women may experience more sexual discrimination.
Effects of Sexual Discrimination
Increased Mental Health Problems at Work
There is no doubt that when a person is harassed or discriminated against, they will be more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders or depression. This slippery slope can lead to other related negative habits such as alcohol or drug abuse as victims try to cope. Instead of suffering, it is important for victims to find a employment attorney to take back their power in the situation.
Employees impacted by discrimination are not going to be capable of giving their best performance. When workers don’t feel appreciated, they will not perform to their potential. As emotional creatures, people under stress are not capable of doing their best work.
Increased Corporate Legal Exposure
Companies that allow sexual discrimination in the workplace are likely to be sued or to receive complaints that must be investigated. Smart employees are well aware that they can call a gender discrimination attorney at a firm like West Coast Employment Lawyers to represent them. The EEOC is clear about what constitutes sexual discrimination.
Poor Employee Morale
When sexual discrimination is present in the workeplace, there are many more victims than might seem obvious at first glance. The woman who is being harassed has friends and other employees who hear about her problem or witness it happening. Everyone has an opinion about this type of activity. There is no doubt that company morale is negatively impacted when an employee is being harassed or unfairly treated.
When morale is low and gossip runs high, it is fair to say that employees will take sides in support of the victim or the person who is guilty of sexual discrimination. Office drama tends to divide work teams and cause arguments and destroy work relationships necessary for work efficiency and team work.
As a gender, women still earn less than men in the workplace and find that they must deal with sexual discrimination in many cases. In spite of the laws that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, there are still many cases of this type of destructive behavior. Anyone who is victimized by gender discrimination should call a gender discrimination lawyer to fight for them in court to protect their rights.