Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two Types of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

sex discrimination, employment discrimination

Sex discrimination is unfortunately common in the United States employment sector. According to the data of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in Fiscal Year 2011, 28,534 sex discrimination complaints were filed with the agency. 

Discrimination based on an individual’s sex is against the law. Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited to discriminate against employees and applicants based on their sex.

Despite the prevalence of sex discrimination in the country, only few employees and employers know the facts involved in the said employment discrimination issue. Workplace discrimination based on a person’s sex may be categorized into types: direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.

Direct discrimination – This involves explicitly discriminating against individual due to his or her sex. Under the law, employers are not allowed to:

• Deny applicants’ application because of their sex
• Terminate employees due to their sex
• Demote employees because of his or her sex
• Deny promotion to workers because of his or her sex
• Refuse to provide training to employees
• Deprive workers of employment benefits due to their sex

Indirect discrimination – Unlike direct discrimination, indirect sex bias does not discriminate an employee or applicant in an outright manner; instead, the discrimination may occur due to implied discriminatory practices. Common examples of indirect sex discrimination are:

• Implementing company policies, criteria, guidelines, and rules that favor a particular sex
• Imposing company rules only to employees of a particular sex

Employees or applicants who have experienced sex discrimination in the workplace have the right to file a formal complaint with EEOC. Complainants may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages.
Settlements for discriminatory act by an employer have limits, whether compensatory or punitive, depending on the size of the company:

• $50,000 limit for companies with 15-100 employees
• $100,000 limit for companies with 101-200 employees
• $200,000 limit for companies with 201-500 employees
• $300,000 limit for companies with more than 500 employees


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