It is the equal opportunities era and sexual harassment policy is a must in every organisation these days. However, is this policy equally pervasive as a practice? No, not equally at least. It exists rather sporadically. Some organisations go great lengths for their employees. Not only do they make sure that they have a healthy gender ratio in their workforce but also that everybody was duly respected. But then there are other organisations as well which merely leave the job half done i.e. ensure a good gender ratio without any thoughts about a dignified work-culture. These are places, which breed gender discrimination. This serious form of employment discrimination, contrary to popular belief, extends to both men and women. The differences in pay-structure, the suggestions that yours is a weaker sex, lewd remarks, gestures, and suggestions are all forms of gender discrimination. And it is only with your awareness and determination that you can fight it.
How To Deal With Gender Discrimination In Workplace
Types Of Gender Discrimination
A less favourable treatment of an employee on the basis of his/her gender is called direct discrimination. Employees subjected to this form of discrimination often get paid less than their equally qualified counterparts. Even promotion chances vary and despite being more eligible for promotion, some people get sidestepped because of their gender.
Certain organisations discriminate in a more subtle manner and certain set of rules or laws are made which indirectly imply that people of a certain gender cannot qualify those laws or rules. For e.g., a sales job requiring only those people to apply who are at least 185 cm tall automatically rules out most of the women candidates.
This type of discrimination is perhaps the worst of the lot since it not only discriminates but causes emotional as well as psychological trauma for the employee who is discriminated against. Lewd remarks, obscene gestures, sexual suggestions, and abuse fall under this category.
Victimisation occurs when an employee is treated less favourably than any other employee would be treated in similar circumstances because the victimised employee has or is suspected to have complained against discrimination under the Sexual Discrimination or Equal Opportunities Act.
How To Handle Gender Discrimination At Workplace?
Gender discrimination is an issue that you need to stand up for even if it is against a colleague.
Identify The Problem
Observe the offender’s attitude towards you and other people in the workplace. Determine for sure that there is discrimination. Talk to other colleagues of your sex to make sure.
Approach Your Seniors
Talk to your seniors about it and let them know how you feel. Be forthright and speak your mind. Refer to specific instances if you can recall any.
Escalate When Required
It is your life and dignity at stake. Do not hesitate to approach the HR department if your senior is the offender or does not respond to your complaints.
Seek External Help
There are various organizations like trade unions or even employment tribunals that support employee rights and look into matters of employment discrimination. If talking to the HR also does not work out in your favour then feel free to seek support from these organisations.
When despite trying everything you do not get justice, you can always resort to the law to help you out. Remember that gender discrimination is a breach of human rights and cannot be taken easily or lightly under any circumstances.
- Never give up hope. Do not lose morale and let the offender take advantage of you. You are an individual and you deserve respect no matter what.
- Timely action is a must. You may have heard that “Justice delayed is justice denied” but what you need to understand is that complaints delayed cause delays in justice.
- Never let peer pressure get to you. You may be a woman fighting men but help is always a call away. Even if you are a man fighting against a woman, do not fall back because of social pressure. Exert your right to respect and don’t be afraid.
- If the tribunal finds your organisation guilty, your employers will be strictly penalized.
- Make sufficient safety arrangements. Lodge a police complaint if required, when your offender has considerable power and influence.