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Sterling Employment Law

Social attitudes may lead to gender discrimination

Gender discrimination is illegal, but it still happens in workplaces all across the country. Men and women do not always get the same opportunities, based solely on their gender.

Some examples include:

  • Refusing to pay someone the same amount that a worker of the opposite gender makes, even though both people are doing the exact same job.
  • Refusing to give a job to a person of a specific gender, with no other reason for that refusal.
  • Offering someone a smaller package when it comes to benefits and compensation than a person of the opposite gender, even when standard wages are the same.

In many ways, it's hard to understand why this keeps happening. Men and women are both heavily involved in the modern workforce. These types of discriminatory practices are illegal and have been for decades. Why hasn't there been more change?

One reason that experts sometimes point to is the influence of social attitudes from outside the workplace. Does society place the same value on men and women? Even when people are technically given equal rights, do both genders believe they each deserve them?

When someone who runs a company is convinced that outdated gender roles should apply to society at large -- that men should work and women should stay home, for instance -- is that person really going to be fair when hiring or paying female workers? As long as this attitude persists, discrimination likely won't end, despite being illegal.

That doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. If you've been discriminated against, make sure you fully understand your legal rights.

Source: The Balance, "Learn About Gender Discrimination in Society," Lahle Wolfe, accessed Feb. 22, 2018

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