For women in the workplace, gender employment discrimination can be a real concern. Issues that are covered under the various laws against discrimination in the workplace include equal pay, sexual harassment and pregnancy rights. In this article, we will explore the different facets of gender employment discrimination and what rights women in the workplace have today.
The earliest form of gender employment discrimination was prohibited by the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This act requires that men and women should be given equal pay for equal work in the same place of business. Although the jobs don’t have to be identical, they must be substantially equal. It is the content of the job and not the job title that determines whether the jobs are substantially equal.
“Substantially equal” means that the performances of the jobs are equal in skill, including experience, ability, education and training, effort, meaning the amount of physical effort required to perform the job, and responsibility, or the degree of accountability required. The environment must be equal as well. Working conditions should be same, which encompasses the physical surroundings such as the temperature and hazards. The law protecting equal pay for equal work applies only to jobs in the same establishment.
Sexual harassment is another type of gender employment discrimination that is prohibited by law. It should be noted that while women are the most affected by this type of discrimination, men have also been victims of it as well. Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or any other verbal or nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, as defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Sexual harassment can happen in any number of circumstances. Some include a scenario where the victim is not a member of the opposite sex, the harasser does not necessarily have to be a direct supervisor, the victim may not be directly harassed but is affected by the offensive conduct, and the harassment does not have to occur with a loss of pay or being discharged.
Another type of gender employment discrimination is pregnancy discrimination. An employer may not refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. If a pregnant employee cannot perform her job because of her pregnancy, her employer must treat her like any other employee that is temporarily disabled. If the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify their tasks or perform different assignments, he must allow the same for the pregnant employee.
Also, pregnant employees must be allowed to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If she must be absent from work for pregnancy-related reasons, he may not require that she continue her leave until the birth of the baby. Finally, an employer must hold open a job for an absence related to pregnancy for the same amount of time jobs are held for employees on sick or medical leave.