Gender-Based Discrimination in the US Workplace

Gender-based discrimination in the workplace in many parts of the country is a reality given the fact that men are given preferential treatment as far as promotion and compensation are concerned. Even though women have fought for their rights since the end of the Second World War, discrimination based on sex is still an impediment, as well as a complication in the places of work. In the recent reward program, female employees were not allowed to ascend to positions of influence mainly because of their gender. Women suffer from skewed recruitment exercise, unfair firing, unequal wages, unfair layoffs, and inadequate benefits. The federal and state laws proscribe gender-based discrimination, but employers are often reluctant to adhere to some of these laws. Many women in the workplace are targeted with discriminate practices that reduce their productivity. Several business establishments, corporations, and even labor organizations have strong laws that prohibit women from discrimination, but they are not enough to protect women from gender-based discrimination (Pynes, 2009). The suffragist movements played a critical role in enfranchising women.

Consequently, the constitution was amended to incorporate the rights of women under the 19th amendment in 1920. Culture is singled out as one of the major impediments, which prevents women from realizing their personal and career objectives. A major shift from June Cleaver days in the late 1950s to the demand for civil rights in the early 1960s redefined the relationship between women and culture.

In the modern environment, women still face some prejudices and unfair treatment based on their sex. Whenever promotions are given out to outstanding employees, women are often sidelined with claims that their sexual features cannot allow them to offer the best leadership. For instance, a recent incident where a woman was denied a promotion because of her pregnancy status is uncalled for in modern organizational management. It was claimed that organizational activities and programs would be affected in case the top manager is not present. In this regard, a male manager was given the position since nothing would prevent him from attending to some of the urgent issues in the organization.

It should be noted that women have the capability of executing their duties without any interference. For instance, the US Supreme Court has two women who are distinguished jurists in the land. In government, women have held some of the superior positions, such as the secretary of state. Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice are just some of the women who have served well as secretaries of state in different administrations. This shows that women can even perform better if given a chance. Upon realization that women could be relied upon just as men, lawmakers amended the constitution to incorporate women fully into the decision-making organs of society. This was done through formulating specific laws and coming up with measures that would see many women taking up powerful positions in both private and public organizations. For instance, affirmative action was put in place to ensure that women receive fair treatment in place of women. For instance, it is illegal for any organization to employ only men in one section of the institution (Sandefur, 2010).

Based on the above discrimination, the woman denied a promotion because of her pregnancy status would argue her case using some of the constitutional provisions. For instance, Title VII of the Civil Rights, which was amended in 1964, could be utilized in defending employment against unfair treatment. The law was ratified specifically to defend the rights of each American, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, and culture. Any discrimination against a woman would be considered sexual harassment, and anyone suspected to be perpetrating the act would be subjected to the full force of the law. Before the enactment of this law, women would always be subjected to inhuman conditions that degraded their status at the workplace.

Moreover, the Pregnancy and Discrimination Act of 1978 would be invoked to claim the case for any pregnant woman denied the chance to be promoted. The law ensures that women are fairly treated when they are pregnant, meaning that they should be awarded promotion, irrespective of their status. Men are always responsible for the pregnancies, but they are never discriminated for being fathers. The law provides that any company with at least fifteen employees should offer maternity leave to its employees. Moreover, the salaries and benefits of women should never be tempered with while on maternity leaves. In case the employee feels that she needs more time to care for the baby, the 1993 law on Family Medical Leave ensures that she takes unpaid leave without necessarily resigning.

Employment-at-will means that the employer has the right to firing the worker without any warning. Similarly, the employee can decide to terminate the contract without actually giving a valid reason. However, there are some exceptions to the provision, particularly when issues related to discrimination are involved (Shepherd, 2011). If it is established that the employer terminated the contract of the employee because of gender-related issues, the employee has the right to sue the employer. Therefore, the law protects women against firing and unfair treatment in the organization.


Pynes, J.E. (2009). Human resources management for public and nonprofit organizations: A strategic approach (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sandefur, T. (2010). The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

Shepherd, J. (2011). Firing At Will: A Manager’s Guide. New York, NY: Apress Media.

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