Gender Discrimination is Still Rampant in the Workplace

Joe Weinlick
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If high-profile lawsuits involving big companies are any indication, gender discrimination in the workplace is still a fixture of America, despite anti-discrimination laws. Take a look at a rundown of several legal actions filed against prominent American companies that made headlines. The list may surprise you.

Instances of Women Suing Big Companies for Discrimination

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart in 2011 in a class action lawsuit brought by women. In this gender discrimination case, justices said that the women did not have enough in common to merit a class action. Otherwise, the retail giant would have had to litigate the largest class action lawsuit in history.

Women who worked for Microsoft filed 238 complaints against the software company between 2010 and 2016. Of those, 119 revolved around gender discrimination. One women named Katherine Moussouris filed a lawsuit in 2015 that said Microsoft passed her over for promotions while her less-qualified male colleagues earned promotions. As of 2018, that lawsuit does not have a trial date set.

Quest Diagnostics had to pay more than $152 million in damages to more than 5,000 current and former employees in 2012 when the company settled a discrimination lawsuit out of court. It also agreed to invest $22.5 million to institute new HR policies.

Gender Discrimination Against Men

Gender discrimination happens to men, too. The EEOC sued California-based beauty wholesaler Ventura Corporation on behalf of Erick Zayas. He alleged that the company only promotes women to regional and zone managers, while the company promoted him only to intentionally set him up to fail. Ventura agreed to pay Zayas $150,000 in 2014.

Lawry's operates several restaurants in California, Chicago and Las Vegas, and it had a tradition of hiring only female servers instead of men. A verdict against the company came to more than $1 million because the corporation simply said it was a tradition that it hired women-only servers as opposed to any other reason.

What Does This Mean in the #MeToo Movement?

These cases all happened before the #MeToo movement started by Hollywood A-list actress Ashley Judd. Since then, several high-profile men lost their jobs in the entertainment industry, even without a lawsuit, thanks to widespread media coverage, public outcry and brave women coming forward with their stories. A wave of women have put their employers on notice that gender bias, which is a concern for as many as 40 percent of women in the workplace, should not be happening in 21st century America.

The #MeToo movement also showed women that when they feel as if they are suffering from discrimination at work, they should go through standard channels without waiting. Women should talk to colleagues they trust and file reports with human resources first and foremost.

Gender discrimination occurs in many forms, none of which have good reasons or intentions behind them. If you feel discriminated against, take action as soon as possible.


Photo courtesy of kasey gouch at Flickr.com

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Barbara G thanks for your comment. Not necessarily. Could be that they were always micro-managed but it just became more noticeable when media and other news outlets started to bring the plight of the older worker into the forefront. @Zoltan H - it's going to take several years before protections are in place for transgenders. We are still trying to get protection for women in the workplace. I dare say that, if the current whitehouse gets elected for another term, all protections will be thrown out. So stay tuned.

  • zoltan h.
    zoltan h.

    how about trans gender>?

  • Barbara G.
    Barbara G.

    so is micro-managing of older workers, verbal abuse trying to get them to retire

  • Kathryn V.
    Kathryn V.

    so is age discrimination

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