Gender bias frequently creeps into the workplace in subtle ways. Some common examples include the way each gender is viewed for the same behavior, such as a woman being called aggressive or bossy, while a male in the same situation is viewed as a strong, decisive leader. Women often find themselves treated differently from male coworkers by supervisors, peers, and subordinates, including being interrupted far more often or given less credit for ideas. Gender bias may also take the form of referring to female colleagues with “terms of endearment,” like honey, dear, and sweetie.
While this kind of bias makes working situations incredibly frustrating and difficult for female employees to succeed, such treatment does not always rise to the level of illegal discrimination.
To be actionable in the legal context, the gender bias must result in a material disadvantage for the employee, such as male employees being promoted more frequently and having more career development opportunities than female peers. Illegal discrimination also occurs when female employees are disciplined or terminated for actions when male employees do not receive discipline for the same actions.
If you believe that you are being treated differently by your employer because of your gender – whether you are male or female – we encourage you to seek legal counsel. At Schaefer Halleen, LLC, we have extensive experience in advocating on behalf of victims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.