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Despite considerable advances in the corporate world, workplace discrimination does occasionally raise its ugly head. Discrimination in the workplace is when an employee is treated unfairly because of their sexuality, gender, ethnicity, culture, maternity, or disability. Gender inequality is among the most common forms of workplace discrimination that employees generally experience.

Gender discrimination in the workplace can take various forms, but it generally refers to when an employee or job candidate is mistreated or treated less favorably because of their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

If you have been searching the web for “employment lawyers near me,” you are probably looking for solutions to fight such instances in your workplace. If so, this article will help you identify if what you are facing is gender discrimination and help you find steps to take if it is.

Examples of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

The following are some examples of behavior that could be considered gender discrimination:

  • Because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you are denied employment or given a lower-paying position.
  • Because of your gender identification, you are subjected to different standards, or you are evaluated more harshly than your colleagues.
  • You are passed over for a promotion, a wage rise, or a training opportunity that is being provided to those of different sexual orientations or gender identities which seem to be equally competent or eligible as you.
  • You are being reprimanded or penalized for something that most employees of a specific gender do on a regular basis but never face repercussions for the same.
  • Insulting or calling you harsh names or slurs due to your gender identity or witnessing unpleasant remarks about people of certain sexual orientations or gender identities.
  • You are being subjected to unwanted sexual approaches, solicitations for sexual favors, and other forms of verbal or physical sexual harassment.
  • Because you’re pregnant, you are denied a job, forced to take time off, or given fewer responsibilities.

Discrimination in every area of employment, involving hiring, firing, salary, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, benefits packages, and any other terms and conditions of employment, is prohibited under the law. You have the right to work in a workplace that is free of discrimination. By law, your employer needs to provide a safe and healthy work environment that is not “hostile” to you because of your gender, gender identification, or sexual orientation.

What You Can Do About It

Suppose you believe you are a victim of workplace gender discrimination or see that another employee in your organization is really being discriminated against for their gender. In that case, it’s critical to be proactive in recognizing and reporting incidences of discrimination. This ensures such instances are avoided in the future. Here are some options for you.

1. Notify HR or your manager about the discriminatory conduct or policy.

Complain to HR, your manager, or another high-ranking employee at your organization about the discriminatory conduct or policy. We strongly advise that you submit your complaints or concerns in writing (by email or letter) and make copies so that you have proof in case you need it later.

2. File a formal complaint.

If you’re a union member, your contract (also known as a “collective bargaining agreement” or CBA) usually specifies the “terms and conditions” of employment. Discuss with your union official about filing a grievance if you believe you’re being unfairly treated or your company isn’t abiding by the contract.

3. File a discrimination complaint.

You can file a discrimination complaint or charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the province’s Fair Employment Practices Agency—for example, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in California (DFEH). You also have the right to inform your employer that you intend to submit a charge, and they are not allowed to retaliate against you if you do so.

4. File a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.

If you’ve previously filed a complaint with the EEOC or the state’s FEPA and received a “Right-to-Sue” notice, filing a discrimination lawsuit is your final option. You must speak with a legal advocate about your choices for potentially filing a case.


It is illegal to fire or punish an employee for doing any of the above, and you may pursue legal action against your current or previous employer if it happens. Retaliation can take the form of getting demoted, having your income cut, having your shifts or responsibilities switched, or any other action that has a detrimental effect on you.