Sex/Gender Discrimination at Workplace in the USA
In the USA, but across the world sex discrimination is negatively affecting the terms and conditions of employment. Unlawful sex discrimination occurs when the employer treats the employee or applicant less favorably because of self-gender preferences. The employees or applicants are treated differently based on the sex stereotyping because he or her due to the traditional notions believes on feminism or masculinity. Sex discrimination also includes the unwelcoming or hostile sexual advances, sex discrimination could favor the verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature, and offensive remarks are included in the sex discrimination.
Sex discrimination is illegal in the United States; still there are companies who do discrimination with the employees based on gender differences. Employment status, job location, salary packages and training opportunities or efficiency of the employee could be affected by sex discrimination. There are many disadvantages of sex discrimination as if, employees cannot perform better at their workplace if they feel discrimination, there will be the loss of productivity and employees will be unable to perform their social relationships. Examples of sex discrimination; it could take place in the hiring process as if someone applies for the job of sales executive and he/she has an excellent qualification but rejected because the company clients are comfortable in dealing with men. More examples are could be regarding firing, promotion, job classification, benefits, harassment etc. In every sphere of job performance, there could be difficulties for employee’s concerning sex discrimination.
There are laws regarding the sex discrimination in the United States; laws prohibits the sexual discrimination, the laws applies to the private employers, local government employers, employment agencies, labor organization etc (Feder, 2015). The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit the discrimination and there is punishment for those who do discrimination. We should take the responsibility to report such sex discrimination by involving the union and filing a complaint against that company in which sex discrimination take place.
Behind the sex discrimination in the workforce, it is important for us to understand that how the sex discrimination arrived and how it reaches to the extreme level. There are historical explanations many of the researchers have attempted to explain the sex discrimination at the workplace, however, to explain the gender gaps; there are very few sociologists who able to provide the clear explanation and justification.
The original theory has the biological foundations that men deserve higher earnings because they have the physical strength. From the 20th century, it is claimed that men can perform better due to upper body strength, most of the sociologists and economists agreed that in a majority of the jobs upper body strength of employees play the role in their functions or task performance (Kengne, 2016).
Another explanation, which is given by the sociologists, is that the success between the male and female is related to the role of women as a child bearer; women cannot perform better as the role of child bearer can lead them towards low productivity. It is the unfair practice because it challenges the women ability to complete her job. Most of the women are facing discrimination and inequality based on the hegemonic masculinity phenomenon. This theory or concept supports the position of men and women in the society, due to these thinking, men remained superior or dominant in the society for many years (Hays & Morrow, 2013).
Forms of Sex Discrimination:
Theories cannot be neglected, however, sex discrimination in the workforce at the workplace is much more difficult to identify. There are ways to analyze them through behaviors of employers, as unequal opportunities or treatment can identify the sex discrimination at the workplace.
When we talk about the women from the sociological perspective, the most important role is perceived as occupational sex segregation. Women cultural stereotyping and her role in the society want to see her as the teacher, social worker or other careers pursuing field because women are more companionate in this field and struggling to prove their performances better in the relevant fields. Women are seen efficient in these roles as compared to the roles that are typically associated with the male traits.
It is an interesting theory that higher positions are for male, even in U.S, most of the organizations have male supervisors or managers because there is a correlation between gender and higher positioning. The cultural and societal stereotyping is there, so men and women grew up seeing these preferences, since childhood it is embedded in everyone behaviors. These behaviors shape the beliefs and career option or preferences of every individual as beliefs become a part of child identity.
If we from the economic perspective, the preference is given to the one who is ready to work for the low wages. If we talk about the wages in U.S, then women are getting lower wages as compared to men, in some aspects, maybe this could be a reason for one organization, which wants to hire the women, as low or reasonable wages could be given to them. In the labor market, the segregation is known as the labor market discrimination. As the employers in this way wants to increase the unmeasured skills at lower wages (Hays & Morrow, 2013).
There are downward pressures on the female wages when they paid less and growing or increasing their skills continuously. Women agree to work at the low wages than men; the economic perspective explains the thinking or behavior of most of the employers. The employees from any organization will prefer to pay less and at efficient or increasing skills.
The wage gap is one of the most prevalent forms of the sex discrimination, as there are differences between the salary and wages of the employees, with respect to the employers preferences wages decides. The quality of work is not preferred in this way the employer set wages according to sex preferences. However, laws are against wage gaps and it is morally and ethically wrong, as it could be the reason to de-motivate the employees ate the workplace.
Moreover, in U.S there is concept of “compare favorably” means that the pays are decided based on one’s skills and performance not on the gender preferences. There is stronger dedication regarding equal pay or wages, as compared to the other industrialize countries U.S is better or have the influence on the equal rights or pay of the worker. It is important to give equal opportunities to both the genders for the successful organization, well in some organizations sex discrimination may happen because nobody can judge what is behind the scene (Berkery, Morley, & Tiernan, 2013).
The glass ceiling is one the widely used metaphors in analyzing the sex discrimination at a work place, as there is a concept of glass ceiling in every organization, where men are promoted at higher ranks but women not. It is more difficult for the managers to promote the women, as men do not women to rule them. The research has also shown that many of the companies are successful because they believe on inequality (Grey-Bowen & Miami-Dade, 2010).
More researchers show that women are likely to be promoted because they are interesting enough in behaviors and could represent the companies more efficient; women could be the reason of the insignificant or higher financial performance. It has been theorized that the companies with the women are more successful, then the companies with less, few or women. However, it is sex discrimination, if most of the companies do not prefer male orientation in their organization.
Pregnancy discrimination is directly related to the sex discrimination, as the women obvious factor that can be faced by the women, most of the organization does not prefer pregnant women to work because thinking or theories supported that they are unable to perform well in the organization. In U.S, there are fast-growing complaints that pregnant women are fired from the work or given leaves with no or fewer wages. There is a wrong practice and Federal Equal Opportunity Commission has being filled with so many claims (Hays & Morrow, 2013).
Pregnancy discrimination mostly takes place in a hiring process, when the employers come to know that women are pregnant, they do not hire her because it is believed that she cannot able to show effectiveness in work. The organization does not feel comfortable to give jobs to pregnant women because in coming months or year they have to spend on her.
Any of the organization does not want to spend on the pregnant women, as the organizations know they have to suffer a lot, the spending on her and her decision to join back organization after delivery can be inadequate for any organization, due to this reason pregnant women are not preferred for the job. Spending could result in the high expenditures, maternity leaves, reduce productivity, stemming from medical cost etc. Laws helps to diminish the unfairness seen regarding pregnant women in the workplace today, the discrimination of pregnant women is against the law (Rankin, 2015).
A study demonstrates that women are discriminated as soon as they are pregnant because they will have children, which can divert their mind and put the negative effect on their performance. Both the sexes are discriminated in this way, the people who have children and a single parent is not accepted for the job because it is predicted that their performance cannot be effective in the organization or workplace. Every person dream of equality and opportunity, there could affect one psychological condition and there could be financial issues faced by one (Berkery, Morley, & Tiernan, 2013) (ILO, 2016).
Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact:
In the United States, to remove the concept of employment discrimination the court developed the two principle models. The first model focuses on employer’s means to discriminate, which is known as the disparate treatment the second model is a disparate impact that discusses the effects of the employer’s practices on employees. These both principles; disparate treatment and disparate impact can be used to shift the burden. Both help the plaintiff to develop the strong case against the discrimination (ILO, 2016).
Gender or sex discrimination is common nowadays; at workplace pregnancy, discrimination also becomes a common habit at the workplace. Most of the professional women have lost their job every day just because of pregnancy. According to the rules and regulation, it is the duty and responsibility of the organization to provide maternity leave to the pregnant woman. Moreover, there should be benefits like paid leave, flexible time for women at the workplace. According to the law, pregnant women can sue organization or her employer if an employer discriminates based on pregnancy.
Sexual harassment has also become common at a work place. There are many cases of sexual harassment. It is considered as a shameful act by the employer towards the employee. A purpose of sexual harassment would be to interfere or decrease the productivity of an individual at the workplace. Sexual harassment creates offensive, unpleasant and hostile working environment. In the United States, there is the law that protects an individual from sexual harassment. According to the court, an individual can take legal action his/her employer on any kind of sexual harassment. The court will accept the case or will take legal action only and consider the working environment as a hostile and offensive; if their discrimination takes place on the frequent basis, the cruelty of discrimination, if the conduct is humiliating, or physically threatening for an individual (Feder, 2015).
Same-Sex Sexual Harassment:
Many of the employees in the organization have complained about the same-sex sexual harassment. There is sexual orientation discrimination in organizations; many of the male employees do not promote the male employees because they are homosexual. This type of sex discrimination is restricted by the laws of U.S government. Sexual orientation discrimination is actionable under the federal law.
Employers should be aware of same-sex harassment in their workplace; they should not permit it to occur in the workplace. Employers should review and sure about the policies and then promptly needs to investigate the matter (England, 2016).
What Needed To Do?
Write down What Happened:
As soon as someone experiences the sex discrimination, he/she need to write down, where, when, how it happened with them. People need to raise their voice so the discrimination should be finish from our society and from the workplaces. One also needs to take reviews from the co-workers that what behavior they are facing within an organization and in the case of any sex discrimination, the case should be reported so the action could be taken according to the laws because laws do not tolerate sex discrimination (Equalrights, 2013).
Report the Incident or Problem To Employers:
The person who faces the sex discrimination or feels that it is happening with any other people of an organization then there is the need to report the employers or human resource manager so the implementation could be done on policies and regulations. Regulations can save the person and can take the action against that organization whose employees and other managers are promoting the sex discrimination.
Involve the Union:
Union can be helpful in given the equality to the employee in an organization, some organizations do not bother about sex discrimination, they just focus on productivity; that how productivity could be enhanced and how effective performance could be achieved. For such organizations, there is the need to involve the union so the union can navigate the grievance process; the problems should be discussed so the action should be taken. Government agencies can be helpful in this way, and they can file a lawsuit in the state or federal court (Equalrights, 2013).
File a Complaint with Government Agencies:
One need to file a complaint with government agencies so implementation of discrimination laws should be applied in an organization, there are departments, which can take guidelines from the Federal Labor Relations. File a lawsuit can also be effective as one could go directly to the court and can file a case.
For any organization or workplace there is, need to close the gap of sex discrimination, women and men should equally enjoy the freedom, in this way their performance could be effective and they will be concentrated towards the positive outcomes and effective performance in their organization. In order to achieve the effective outcomes sex discrimination should be eliminated from the workplace, from not only the U.S, but also it needs to be eliminated from the organizations across the world. Leaders and managers have the responsibility to look after their employees that if they are facing any type of sex discrimination in the organization. For the societal progress, the effective measure needs to be taken. Women are the bread earners in our society and they have the equal responsibility as men, so they need to be respected and protected in the origination so their morale boost and their performance could be enhanced and they feel motivated to achieve the desired outcomes.
Organizations need to implement the laws and policies based on the sex discrimination, so there should be equality in both the genders. According to the research, women are taking more responsibility for their families so Centre for American Progress (2010), encouraged the higher wages for the women of the country, in this way families, could be more prosperous. If men and women are paid equally in the organization then, economic status of the country will also get success, and poverty level will be reduced, so governmental organizations need to develop more policies that support the fair wages and systems in an organization.
The government needs to keep check in the organizations that policies and laws are fairly implemented or not, it is important to reduce the gender compensation gap. If any of the organization, employees or manager are not supporting the laws in their organization, or if there are any complaints by the employees against them then they need to be punished. By giving equal civil rights to every citizen, a country can be prosperous, as people will get the increased level of inner satisfaction.
- Berkery, E., Morley, M., & Tiernan, S. (2013). Beyond gender role stereotypes and requisite managerial characteristics: From communal to androgynous, the changing views of women. Gender in Management: An International Journal , 28 (5), 278 – 298.
- England, D. C. (2016). Same-Sex Harassment: Know Your Rights. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/same-sex-harassment-know-your-rights.html
- Equal rights. (2013, March). Sex Discrimination At Work. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://www.equalrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/KYR_SexDiscrm.pdf
- Feder, J. (2015). Sex Discrimination and the United States. Congressional Research Service , 1-20.
- Grey-Bowen, J. E., & Miami-Dade. (2010). Gender Compensation Discrimination: An Exploration of Gender Compensation Gap and the Higher Education Connection. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly , 2 (1), 65-82.
- Hays, N., & Morrow, K. (2013). Gender Discrimination in the Workforce. 1-37.
- ILO. (2016). Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from https://www.ilo.org/washington/areas/gender-equality-in-the-workplace/WCMS_159496/lang–en/index.htm
- Kengne, B. D. (2016). Mixed-gender ownership and financial performance of SMEs in South Africa: A multidisciplinary analysis. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship , 8 (2), 1-10.
- Rankin, J. (2015, June 12). Workplace discrimination: when a pregnant pause becomes more long-term. Retrieved June 18, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jun/12/discrimination-work-pregnant-new-mothers-forced-out-jobs