Types of Workplace Discrimination Against Women

by Amanda L. Webster; Updated September 26, 2017
A woman may be discriminated against in the workplace in several ways.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the body of government that enforces federal laws governing discrimination in the workplace. These include such aspects of discrimination as age, sex, gender, race, color, national origin, disability, religion or genetic information. There are several types of discrimination a woman may be a victim of in the workplace. EEOC laws govern all types of discrimination in all types of workplace situations.

Hiring and Firing

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against women in hiring and firing practices.

The EEOC prohibits discriminating against women in hiring and firing practices. An example of discrimination in hiring practices would be if an employer interviewed both a male and a female with equal qualifications, but chose to hire the male because certain clients are more comfortable working with a male. Additionally, if an employer must lay off several employees to cut costs, and chooses to fire a woman who has greater seniority than a man with equal qualifications, this would be an example of discriminatory firing practices.

Promotions and Job Classification

Promotions and job classifications should be equal regardless of gender.

Employers are also prohibited by law from discriminating against women when promoting employees or choosing job classifications. Employers may not promote one employee over another based simply on gender. The same is true for adjusting job qualifications. Job classifications often change as an employee takes on additional duties and extra hours. A change in job classification will usually require a change in pay to reflect the additional duties. If an employer is quick to change job classifications for men while allowing female employees doing the same work to remain in a lower job classification, this is an example of discriminatory employment practices.

Benefits and Pay

Men and women doing equal work are entitled to equal pay and benefits.

According to the EEOC, The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects both males and females “who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.” Employers are prohibited from paying male workers at a higher rate when they perform the same work as female coworkers. Employees of both genders are also entitled to equal benefits.

Sexual Discrimination

Sexual discrimination law covers sexual harassment and the treatment of pregnant employees.

The sexual discrimination portion of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically covers both sexual harassment and pregnancy-based discrimination. Sexual harassment includes both direct and indirect sexual advances that create a hostile work environment for employees of both genders. Title VII also states that “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions must be treated in the same way as other temporary illnesses or conditions.”

About the Author

Amanda L. Webster has a Master of Science in business management and a Master of Arts in English with a concentration in professional writing. She teaches a variety of business and communication courses within the Wisconsin Technical College System and works as a writer specializing in online business communications and social media marketing.

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