Sex Discrimination in the Workplace
Dr. Tyrone Powers
I. Indirect an direct Discrimination
a. Defining Sexual discrimination
b. Civil right act and Title IX
II. Sexual Harassment
a. Supreme court cases
III. Equal pay
a. Equal pay act
IV. Sexual Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System
a. Men vs. women in the court system
V. Summary page
In today’s society, a woman actively participates in workplace. Many women desire a career and a place in this world. “Sexual harassment of working women has been one of the most pervasive but carefully ignored features of our national life”[footnoteRef:1]. They want to stand on their own two feet, to become self- independent individuals, independent and free from other individuals. In fact it’s evident that women in all careers are striving to gain equality in the work force today. Through hard work and dedication, women now have the ability to destroy the gender roles that were created for them by society. One of the issues that have affected women in the workplace is that of stereotyping of women. In the times of history women have taken the role of housewife, mother, and nurturer. Often time’s women are stereotyped to stay at home and take care of the house and children. It has been their job to cook the meals, do the laundry, and manage the children’s school activities. Unfortunately in todays, motherhood is still considered to be the primary role for women. [1: (Mackinnon C.A.1979).]
In todays work force, women are not treated the same as men. Another area in which women are at a disadvantage in the workplace is through discrimination. Discrimination can be an uncomfortable situation for the women involved. There are two types of discrimination, indirect and direct. An example of indirect discrimination would be a women being overlooked for a promotion, or an employee displaying inappropriate sexual material in the workplace. Direct discrimination may include a women being discharged from her employment because she is pregnant, or being excluded from after work group events. In fact both direct and indirect discrimination has been a feature of our legal landscape since the enactment of the sex discrimination act 1975”)[footnoteRef:2]. The sex discrimination act of 1975 was an act that was put into place by the Unites Kingdom government our sex discrimination act would be under Title IX and the Civil rights act of 1964. The Civil right act says that it is “unlawful for an employer to deny a job to a person on the basis of sex as on the basis of race”.[footnoteRef:3] [2: (Hunter, R 1992)] [3: (Miller Jr, R. S. (1966).]
Another major area were women have been affected in the workplace is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is closely linked to sex discrimination. Sexual discrimination forces women into lower paying jobs, and sexual harassment helps keep them there. The United States equal employment opportunity says, “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature”,[footnoteRef:4] Two important landmark cases that drew attention to sexual harassment in the workforce today. Supreme Court ruled on a pair of cases that would change the way U.S. law sees that topic, the first case Faragher v. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries v. Ellerth. In the Faragher v. City of Boca Raton the suit was being filed because of physical and verbal sexual harassment at a local city pool. Ms.. Faragher was a lifeguard working at a city pool who was under supervising of a male. Her boss was touching her and other life guards in private places that weren’t suppose to be touched. She had also mentioned in the reports filed that her boss told her he would never raise the position of a women. She had also added that he threatened her to date him or clean toilets. This case reached the supreme courts and was ruled as work place sexual harassment. The next important case was Burlington Industries V.Ellerth of 1998 . A woman by the name of Kimberly Ellerth had sued the company because she alleged that the vice president was making offensive remarks and unwanted sexual gestures towards her. She had later alleged that he threatened her job benefits if she didn’t do sexual things that he had asked her to do. She argued the Civil right act and Title IX . It became a class action lawsuit and the Supreme court ruled it workplace sexual harassment. There are many cases that have been similar to the ones mentioned but those particular cases really drew attention to sexual harassment in the workplace. [4: (EEOC.gov).]
The Next important area of sex discrimination would be equal pay between men and women Equal pay act of No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate.. the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions”. [footnoteRef:5] Although this act was created to help with equal pay facts and statistics today show that men are still being paid more than women This is a more normal and profile action of sexual discrimination. In Fact “Today, on average, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women's median annual earnings are $10,086 less than men's, according to data from the US Census of Bureau”.[footnoteRef:6] Although men get paid more than women in most fields of the workforce women there are a few job where women get paid more than men. Some of those jobs include bar tenders , medical assistants , and medical engineers. Also another job that women can get paid as much as men is in the criminal justice system. Women prosecutors and lawyers get paid just as much as the men. With that being said women in the criminal justice system are still discriminated against and not treated with respect especially as a parole officer. Women that are parole officers in all men prison face sexual harassment everyday when they go to work. Being the only women in an all men’s prison can be dangerous at times. Most of women have to file complaints about male prisoners saying inappropriate things, and masturbating when around female officer. [5: (Manning, A. 1996).] [6: (Business-insider/wage-gap).]
The tables turn when you talk about sex discrimination in the criminal justice system and why men seem to receive harsher sentences then women. According to study done by Professor Sonja Starr “men receive 63 percent longer sentences on average than women do”.[footnoteRef:7] Men are more likely to commit murder than women. Most murders recorded by women are said to be because of domestic violence. Women often are often arrested and charged drug related, theft, and property charges. Unlike men that are usually arrested for murder, rape, and drugs. A woman and get charged for a murder and end up doing 10 years but a man can be charged with murder and end up doing 22 or more years for the same thing. Women said to be non-violent offenders and usually aren’t stereotyped as violent. However men are stereotyped top be a violent offender and that is why they are charged with more time than women. Studies that women aren’t given as much time as men in prison because they cant be the gender that are away from their kids for a long time. Also the criminal justice wants to prevent pregnant from being incarcerated. With those reasons the courts still should not be biased and stereotyping men versus women in the criminal justice system. [7: (state-press-2016).]
In the last decade, companies have turned their attention to some of these issues. There has been more training and education about women’s issues. Even though there is more corporate training for these issues, this training may not work, but start educating people. Women need to overcome the image that they are sensitive people, which let their emotions control their mind. They need to prove that they can think with their minds and not their hearts when it comes to business. Most people want to correct the unequal treatment of women in the workplace. One method that can be used to support equality would be to introduce federal legislation to guarantee equal pay for equal work. The problems associated with this solution would be great. How would people measure the value of one person’s work to another’s? Who would decide this and how would it be implemented our attitudes toward women in the workplace are slowly starting to change. More opportunities are appearing for women workers today than ever before. The unequal treatment of working women will take years to change, but change is occurring. This topic will remain until people treat and pay women equally, based upon their abilities. There have been many remedies introduced into the workplace that have tried to address the injustice toward women in the workplace. Although there have been many improvements for women in the workplace but there are still many inequalities for women when compared to men. Remedies are needed to secure a fair and equal role in the workplace. This change can only fully occur when people change the attitudes of every individual toward women. When society can accomplish that then we can finally achieve gender equality in the workplace.
Hunter, R. (1992). Indirect discrimination in the workplace. Federation Press.
Miller Jr, R. S. (1966). Sex Discrimination and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Minn. L. Rev., 51, 877.
Manning, A. (1996). The Equal Pay Act as an experiment to test theories of the labour market. Economica, 191-212.
MacKinnon, C. A., & MacKinnon, C. A. (1979). Sexual harassment of working women: A case of sex discrimination (No. 19). Yale University Press.