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The Facts About Sex Discrimination In The Workplace

To define it simply, sex discrimination in the workplace is when a person or a group of people are treated unethically due to their gender. More often than not this is a problem affecting women rather than men. The full facts regarding how often sex discrimination occurs in British employment is quite alarming. Statistics show that a whopping forty-six percent of women believe they have experienced sex discrimination at some point in their working life. Of all the discrimination charges that are filed each year with UK employment lawyers, fifteen percent of them are of a gender discriminatory nature. Only race discrimination is a more often reported form of discrimination.

Gender discrimination has many awful results for the victims of such treatment. Here are some of the most frequent problems that it causes in the UK workplace.

Sexual Harassment

Arguably the most serious cases of sex discrimination are those of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment comes in many different forms and it need not be a blatantly obvious occurrence. This can include either direct or indirect sexual advances and verbal or physical actions that have sexual overtones and suggestions. The result of this behaviour may affect a victim’s performance at work and on a more personal level it can make them feel intimidated, embarrassed, fearful, offended and hurt. Sex discrimination almost always results in a hostile work environment too.

Sexual harassment is by no means a female only problem, as many men have experienced such treatment and make up many of the cases that are brought before employment tribunals each year. Unlike female reports, though, many men are worried about coming forward to make a report due mto a pre-conceived notion that sex discrimination is female only problem. Regardless of the gender of the victim, the aggressor can be anyone from the work place, such as a supervisor, co-worker or client. The victim is not always necessarily the person being directly harassed, as they could be someone who has been indirectly offended by attitudes being expressed by the behaviour of others that they have witnessed in the work place.

Unequal Positions of Power

In UK employment men are still the more represented in positions of leadership despite an increasingly large number of women gaining access to higher levels of employment in the work place than women are. This is especially true of senior management positions within certain industries that are commonly more male dominated, such as the construction industry. This can lead to women feeling unrepresented by the employers in their work force. Underrepresentation of this kind can also lead to male patriarchal attitudes prevailing over a balanced and fair attitude towards to women. This kind of sex discrimination is commonly referred to as vertical occupation segregation. In these scenarios the discriminatory attitude may actually be unintentional from the men in charge. But because of the lack of any women in a position of authority, female employee concerns are overlooked as they are not recognised by the male leaders through their lack of emphatic understanding,

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that is often overlooked. It is the act of acting unfairly towards a woman on the grounds that her being pregnant will challenge her ability to perform her job or is somehow less likely to succeed at the tasks she is assigned. Another concern in the field of pregnancy discrimination is when an employer refuses a job to a woman based on her being pregnant or suffering from a pregnancy related condition

Every woman has the right to maternity leave with their job being ready waiting for them should they intend to return to work after their leave is over. All employers should honour this and treat pregnant women fairly. Pregnancy Discrimination is not a rare occurrence and is currently under serious review in the UK. Nearly six thousand cases of this nature were reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the UK alone during 2011.

If you have been the victim of sex discrimination at work you should never suffer in silence, contact an employment lawyer today and seek justice for the trauma you have experienced.

Liam Brennan is a bloger who specialise in Employment law. He recommends contacting Natemplaw.co.uk for reporting all cases of harassment at work to employment law solicitors.