Gender discrimination example.

Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: Definition & Laws

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 5 minutes

Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: Definition & Laws

To the working public, the gender discrimination definition is different compared to that of the courts. After all, discriminatory acts are easy to recognize in the workplace, right? 

Not necessarily. 

Gender Discrimination Laws

Regardless of occupation, we all want to be judged based on the quality of our work. It feels unjust and wrong to have aspects that we can’t control, determine our value. Fortunately, federal and state anti-discrimination laws penalize employers for this type of conduct. 

To be classified as gender discrimination, an incident must meet specific requirements. But first, let’s explore basic definitions surrounding discrimination at work.

What is the Definition of Gender Discrimination? 

On the surface, it can be tough to define. Under the law, however, it has a broader definition. 

Discrimination is the inequitable and damaging treatment of an individual based on race, sexual orientation, age, nationality and gender. 

Federal Laws That Prohibit Discrimination In The Workplace 

In the past few decades, Congress has passed laws that make discrimination in the workplace illegal. 

These gender discrimination laws include: 

  • The Civil Rights Act. This act prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnic origin, and disabilities. 
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Also known as the Gender Discrimination Act, Title VII prevents employers from discriminating against applicants and workers on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation

What Conduct Counts as Discrimination? 

Discrimination in the workplace is not always easy to detect. For it to be considered discriminatory, it must qualify as an adverse action against an employee on the basis of their protected status. 

Workplace Discrimination Examples

Gender harassment, inequality, and workplace discrimination examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Refusing to hire an applicant based on gender 
  • Denying employees of a specific race compensation or benefits 
  • Paying employees who are equally qualified different salaries 
  • Denying promotions to employees of a specific gender 
  • Laying off employees within a similar age group 

These actions likely qualify as discrimination and also contribute to a hostile work environment

Understanding Gender Discrimination in the Workplace 

First, let’s clear something important. Gender discrimination is often confused with sexual orientation or gender identity, but they are not the same. 

Sexual orientation establishes a person’s attraction to other sexes. It takes various forms, such as: straight, gay, lesbian, and bisexual.

A person’s gender identity is their evaluation of their own gender. 

As they are distinct terms, gender discrimination is not interchangeable with sexual orientation and gender identity. Instead, it is an extension of gender inequality and gender bias. As a result, it is the act of treating genders differently.  

Gender Inequality and Bias Examples 

In the workplace, there are many common situations where employers engage in gender inequality and bias through treatment. They include:

  • Hiring women for only lower-level positions 
  • Offering lower-paying positions to women 
  • Being disciplined for an action that employees of a different gender do all the time, and never disciplined for 
  • Being referred to as a derogatory name based on your gender 

How to Prove Discrimination at Work

Gender discrimination stems from implicit and explicit bias. To succeed in a discrimination lawsuit, all you have to do is show that there was actual discrimination.

An example of workplace inequality is: an employer does not realize they discriminate against women. The employer consistently pays women workers less, and fewer women hold leadership positions. 

What Does Gender Parity Mean? 

Gender discrimination attorneys can identify if you are a victim of gender discrimination and oppression in the workplace by evaluating Gender Parity

Gender Parity is used to determine the ratio of women to men in the workplace and as a measurement for gender equality. 

For example, if the supervisory positions of a company are 95 percent men and only 5 percent women, that could signify a discriminatory aspect in the company.  Unequal proportions are not enough to prove gender discrimination. Yet, they are valuable and supportive evidence for your case

To be considered illegal and discriminatory, gender inequality must violate the terms and conditions of employment.  These terms and conditions are written into your employment contract. 

Any adverse action that goes against the terms and conditions of your employment and concentrates around your gender is a discriminatory act. 

Exercising Your Rights 

As an employee, you have the right to challenge gender discrimination in the workplace. Under the law, you can and should notify appropriate government authorities of it. 

However, do not do ANYTHING until you speak to a knowledgeable gender discrimination attorney. Though you are entitled to report discriminatory acts to your HR department, your company may use your report as Advance Notice of a potential lawsuit. Next, they will do everything they can to protect the company. Some examples are: coaching employees on how to develop their narrative and destroying evidence. 

Do NOT give them the chance to react. 

If you believe there have been incidents at your workplace that meet the criteria for gender discrimination, contact an experienced gender discrimination attorney who can guide you on your next steps. 

Find a Gender Discrimination Attorney Today 

Working with a gender discrimination attorney can help you get justice and substantial compensation under the law.  We recognize that this can be a complicated and confusing time.  It’s worthwhile calling a skilled attorney for advice on how to proceed. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free and confidential consultation today.  We’ll direct you to local labor lawyers with expertise representing victims of gender discrimination. 

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

Call 877-322-1161 Schedule A Consultation
Minimize Chat End Chat