Addressing Job-Related Discrimination Complaints by Women
Gender-based workplace discrimination is a primary factor driving lawsuits in the United States. As more women join the workforce, and work in jobs that could also have been performed by males, the potential for misunderstandings and conflict can increase. Smart employers need to address the very specific concerns that many women have about workplaces these days.
According to new analysis by the Pew Research Center based on a survey of Census data, women today are starting their careers at higher education levels than male counterparts. However, just because the average female joining the workforce is much more educated than the average male, does not mean that the female may push her qualifications, or promote herself. Even though working women are making much more money than their mothers or grandmothers did, they are less likely to ask for raises or promotions. While women want a secure job, they are less likely to ask for a promotion or aspire to the top jobs, and those kinds of inhibitions actually grow as women grow older and reach their 30s and 40s.
In the Pew Research Center survey, many women admitted that becoming a working parent actually made it difficult for them to advance their career. They also reported that they were much more likely to face interruptions in their careers because of family issues, and women were much more likely to find that that their career suffered a significant hit when they took a break from work to care for a family member.
Obviously, concerns involving gender discrimination and retaliation are very real for American women. You may not realize that some of your recruitment and workplace policies may actually encourage managers to discriminate against female employees. For example, does your company have a solid, water-tight ant harassment policy in place? Are female employees informed about the fact that there is an ant harassment policy, and about the kind of avenues that they can use to file a complaint when they are harassed in the workplace?
Are your recruitment and hiring practices in line with federal anti—discrimination policies? Even more importantly, are managers being trained to recruit on a gender-neutral basis? Very often, managers allow some of their own prejudices to surface, leading to a potentially sticky situation for you as an employer. Also, take a closer look at your policies for accommodation, leave and other benefits for pregnant employees.