You were employed in the same job for 30 years, and over the last three decades you became exceptionally skilled at what you do. After your boss of 25 years retired, however, the new manager decided to hire an increasingly younger workforce.
Imagine working in the same job for 20 years when the company merges with another organization. The new management team is high energy and hungry to make their mark within the industry. Things slowly begin to change around the office and you are becoming more and more unsure of your position. But, what if what you are experiencing is age discrimination? What if the new management team is working on pushing out any employees who are over a certain age?
Discrimination against women and mothers can come in a wide range of forms. Some forms are more subtle, such as employers hesitating to hire women of childbearing age because of the risk of pregnancy and related medical leave. Other times, discrimination against women for their reproductive health issues is overt, with bosses or co-workers mocking or refusing to accommodate the medical needs of a pregnant worker.
When most people think about gender discrimination, they automatically think about a woman who is having to deal with the preferential treatment of males in the workplace. While this is the situation that makes the news most often, there are times when a male might be the person who is facing gender discrimination in the workplace.
Gender discrimination can take many forms in the workplace, and pregnant employees may have months upon months to experience every single one of them. Rarely does an event provide such ongoing opportunities for gender discrimination as pregnant employees face each and every day on the job.
Gender discrimination is pervasive throughout society. In the United States, we're becoming more aware of this ugly behavior, but we have a long way to go before we eradicate it. Especially, in workplaces, gender discrimination is particularly damaging because of the way it results in female employees receiving fewer opportunities, less pay and unfair treatment.
While gender discrimination can impact people in any field, it is more common in certain careers than others. Some signs that your field or career could be a hotbed of gender discrimination are obvious.
You've got years of experience in your field and a strong work history. Still, you're having trouble advancing your career, especially now as you approach retirement age. You're passed over for promotions and raises, while younger employees with less experience climb the ladder. Maybe your manager or co-workers joke about your age, which makes you feel disrespected and embarrassed. It seems like your employer doesn't value your experience, but rather views it as a negative thing. This is age discrimination, when older professionals face serious workplace discrimination.
Maybe you have that one manager that all the other female employees warned you about, the one who makes off-color remarks or touches you when you're not comfortable with it. Perhaps you've learned that your male co-workers are receiving higher wages than you are for the same job. Maybe you've been denied advancement in favor of a less qualified male co-worker.
Sexual harassment, a common form of gender discrimination, has been a hot topic in the news during the last year, with some very high profile cases. Studies have shown that up to 38 percent of women in the workforce have experienced sexual harassment from a male employer. Of those, over 70 percent did not report the incidents. This is mostly because the process of reporting sexual harassment can be intimidating and sometimes humiliating for the victim.