When a woman believes she is the victim of gender discrimination at her workplace, she may be confused as to what actions she can take against her employer. Since the prospect of legal action or speaking with management or human resources personnel is often intimidating, many gender discrimination victims do little to combat the problem.
Unfortunately, this allows the problem to continue and grow bigger within the company. But as more and more attention is now being paid to helping women achieve equality in terms of pay, job promotions, and opportunities to succeed in fields that have been mostly dominated by males, many female workers refuse to play the role of victim any longer. If you believe you have been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, here are some crucial tips regarding the proper procedures to use when dealing with this form of discrimination.
Speak with Management
First and foremost, any issues regarding gender discrimination should initially try to be dealt with internally. Thus, your first step should be to speak with your immediate supervisor or a member of your company's management team who is not involved in the alleged gender discrimination. Once you do, the manager will then be required to complete an internal investigation and file a written report about the discrimination. This is a very important step on your part, since the written documentation of your complaint can be obtained and used by a knowledgeable gender discrimination lawyer to show you attempted to get the problem solved on your own, but to no avail.
Notify Human Resources
If the problem of gender discrimination is company-wide, chances are others have filed complaints about it over the years. Therefore, along with speaking with members of management, also make sure you notify your company's Human Resources department. Since HR is responsible for making sure a company follows all state and federal laws related to employment, your HR director will be compelled to follow certain steps to resolve the matter. In most cases, this will mean speaking not only with you, but to those who are supposedly involved in the discrimination. Along with this, your HR director will also be required to give you the information needed to pursue the matter to higher authorities, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If you believe you will need to file a formal complaint outside your company, always make sure you have gathered as much evidence as possible about the alleged acts of gender discrimination against you. For example, if you have always had excellent performance reviews, obtain copies of these from your supervisor or Human Resources director. Also, make sure you have proof you have higher levels of education and/or experience than the male counterpart who may have been promoted ahead of you. Finally, if there are any witnesses to acts of discrimination against you, make sure you have their names, addresses, phone numbers, and statements about what they have witnessed. Once you have all your evidence, schedule a consultation with an experienced and well-informed employment attorney. Since they handle cases such as these on a regular basis, they will be able to evaluate your evidence and make suggestions on whether or not you do indeed have a legitimate case of gender discrimination.
Filing a Formal Complaint
Once you have made the decision to pursue a course of action outside your company, your next step will likely be to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Since gender discrimination is illegal under federal law due to provisions found in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, any complaints of this nature filed with the EEOC are taken quite seriously. To begin the process, you most often visit the agency's website and provide a short but detailed summary of the alleged discrimination. Once this is completed, you will often speak to an agency representative, who will usually state whether or not your allegations meet the guidelines for a formal complaint.
Be Patient During the Process
When you file a complaint with the EEOC, do not think the situation will be resolved in a matter of days. In reality, an EEOC investigation into gender discrimination within a workplace takes an average of almost one year to complete. However, since both your employer and yourself will have the chance to tell what they believe happened, it will not be a one-sided affair. Yet since your emotions may be running high during this matter, it will be equally important for you to use discretion when speaking with anyone about the matter. If you allow yourself to make angry comments or other suggestions about alleged behavior, these words could end up being used against you by your employer. Therefore, always be patient and rely on your common sense and sound judgment to guide your thinking during the process.
Hire an Attorney
Early on in the process, always hire an attorney from West Coast Employment Lawyers to assist you with various matters and offer legal guidance along the way. In doing so, an experienced gender discrimination lawyer can not only make sure you know what to expect at every turn, but also help you lay the groundwork for a potential lawsuit against your employer. Once the EEOC investigation is completed, you will receive what is known as a Right to Sue Letter. In this letter, the EEOC will tell you of its findings. Upon completing its investigation into the matter, the EEOC will determine gender discrimination did take place, did not take place, or that there was insufficient evidence to make a ruling either way. However, no matter how the agency rules on your discrimination complaint, you have full decision-making authority as to whether or not to pursue a lawsuit.
While most people assume gender discrimination cases involve only females, some situations involve males and more recently transgender individuals. In situations involving transgender employees, a number of issues can arise regarding potential gender discrimination. For example, if a transgender employee fails to identify as either male or female, problems can develop regarding appropriate bathrooms to be used and other matters. To make sure a lack of understanding does not result in a lawsuit, it is always best to consult an employment attorney on these matters.
As gender discrimination has come to the forefront in recent years, many companies have taken a proactive approach and now require all male employees to undergo sensitivity training in seminars and workshops. Along with learning more about company rules as well as state and federal regulations, attendees also participate in role-playing exercises designed to let them feel and experience what gender discrimination feels like and does to a person. Also, most seminars also include sessions led by an experienced gender discrimination lawyer, who will explain the process of filing EEOC complaints and lawsuits against individuals and employers.
Since women still earn only 82 percent of what men do for doing the same job, it appears as if gender discrimination still plays a large part in many workplaces. But rather than sit back and allow this to continue against you, turn to the experienced legal professionals at West Coast Employment Lawyers.