What Gender Discrimination Does to Women at Work

Workplace discrimination against women is pervasive in the United States. Nearly four out of ten women (42%) have experienced gender discrimination at work and 25% report being paid less than men doing the same job.

Most women who experience gender discrimination in workplace environments are not aware that their employer has discriminated against them, and even fewer know they can file a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or seek legal action on their own. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against at work because of your sex, contact Hershey Law today for help filing an EEOC charge.

Gender discrimination in the workplace is a widespread problem that affects women of all ages and backgrounds. In California, there are laws in place to protect employees from discrimination based on their gender. However, this does not always prevent employers from discriminating against women.

In this article, we will discuss the anti-discrimination laws relating to gender discrimination, how discrimination affects women, the ways women can be discriminated against in the workplace, and what women’s rights are at work.

What Is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?

Gender discrimination is when someone is treated disadvantageously or unequally based on their sexual orientation or gender. This includes discrimination/harassment based on gender identity, sex, or gender expression (it does not need to necessarily be of sexual nature).

In many cases of gender discrimination in the workplace, women are treated unfairly or differently from men due to their gender. Discrimination can take many forms, from earning less money for doing the same job, to being passed over for promotions or assignments. Gender discrimination can have a negative impact on women’s career aspirations and progression, as well as their mental and physical health. When faced with discrimination, women may feel isolated, anxious, and depressed. In some cases, they may even leave their jobs altogether.

If you suspect that you are the victim of gender discrimination at work, it’s important to speak up and take action. There are laws in place to protect you from discrimination, and here at Hershey Law, we will fight for you. Don’t suffer in silence – stand up for your rights and contact us today!

California Laws Relating to Gender Discrimination

In California, there are three laws that specifically address the issue of gender discrimination:

Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): FEHA was enacted in 1959 to eliminate unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

According to FEHA, an employer shall not discriminate against any person in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, including promotion, transfer, hiring, training opportunities, discipline, layoffs, severance payments, leaves of absence, pay, or other terms or privileges.

California Equal Pay Act of 1963: In section 1197.5, it requires employers to pay male and female workers equal wages for equal work. This law applies to all businesses conducting business in California, regardless of whether the business has 50 or 500 employees.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA): CFRA came into effect in 1991 and prohibits discrimination by employers regarding family leave, child care assistance, adoption, foster parenting, and domestic partner selection.

State and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against women in the following areas:

  • Fringe benefits
  • Firing, hiring, and recruiting
  • Job advertising
  • Compensation
  • Disability leave, retirement plan offerings, and pay
  • Promotions, layoffs, recalls, and transfers
  • Any other terms and conditions that may differ between genders

Unless done blatantly, such as issuing a notice to deny maternity leave available for women employees, gender discrimination can be difficult to prove.

If you believe you are a victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, talk to our employment lawyers immediately. You can reach us at (310) 929-2190.

Common Examples of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Women predominantly face workplace gender discrimination in several ways. Some ways are blatant, while some are done subtly so that the employee does not know they are being discriminated against.

Here are some common examples of gender discrimination in the workplace.


More than 86% of women employees in California have reported some type of workplace discrimination. The numbers have skyrocketed with time, with more women falling prey to it and reporting the issue.

Women are more likely to experience discrimination, with their gender being one of the major reasons. There are several types of workplace harassment women have to go through, including sexual harassment, sexual remarks, inappropriate jokes, and more.  The harassment may involve derogatory comments aimed at women employees.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Some companies hesitate to hire female employees because of the fact that they may start a family after some time and may need an effective maternity leave (up to 28 weeks). Women employees may also be passed over for senior positions and promotions.

Despite having the same capabilities and position as their male colleagues, working mothers make less money. They also experience issues in taking leaves for giving birth or providing care to children, things most male workers never have to face.

Outdated Views

Society has changed a great deal over the last few decades, and women are now leading several big companies as CEOs and in other senior positions. However, some employers are still holding onto the old views that women should be treated differently from men.

For example:

A company may ask its female employees to adhere to a strict dress code, but they don’t have any dress code for men. This could be discrimination based on gender.

Pay Gap

California state law prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against their workers based on their race, religion, and gender. As per the law, no employer is allowed to refuse to hire, harass, pass for promotions, or terminate their workers due to any of the aforementioned categories.

In a report by New York Times, it was mentioned that female employees in California earned roughly 88 cents on the dollar compared to male employees.

This pay gap shows gender discrimination in an organization that discriminates women employees against men.

Difference in Interview Questions

This one is a subtle example, but some women frequently experience it. If an employer asks different questions to women, such as, “Are you planning to start a family?” it may be based on their gender or sexual orientation, which is not allowed.

If a woman encounters any questions that do not affect her skills or professional life, she could be a victim of gender-based discrimination. It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of perceived gender identity or gender expression under existing sex discrimination laws.

Denial in Representation in Senior Management

While women are holding more senior positions in most companies, the progression is, however, slow. In a report by HBR, men still get more promotions than women. There can be many reasons behind this slow progression, such as employers think that women also have family responsibilities, so they hesitate to offer them senior promotions.


If the bias of terminating a woman worker is her gender, this is considered gender discrimination against women at work. Some employers still believe that women employees are less productive and capable than the male workforce, which could lead to terminating the women staff due to this bias.

There are many more examples of gender discrimination against women in the workplace. California state laws, as well as the federal law, prohibit employers from discriminating against any gender. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly.

If you are experiencing gender discrimination at work or if your employer doesn’t treat you fairly, reach out to us today. Our attorneys at Hershey Law, P.C. are fully versed in the nuances of gender discrimination and sex discrimination laws. Contact our office now for a free consultation. 

Ways Gender Discrimination Can Affect Women in the Workplace

Employment discrimination can affect mental health

While women’s lifespans are comparatively longer than men’s, they experience fewer ill health benefits during their lifetime. The impacts of gender discrimination are highly likely to contribute to this.

Gender discrimination can be a source of stress and can have direct as well as indirect impacts on the physical and mental well-being of the victims.

According to a 2020 study, women who experience workplace discrimination scored higher than others on a tool for screening depression. The victims of discrimination may experience psychological trauma and anxiety depending on the situation.

Here’s more on the effects of gender discrimination on the physical and mental health of the victims.

Decreased Productivity

Women often face challenges in reaching career goals due to a lack of access to opportunities, pay inequality, and lack of representation in senior management. This happens when women are subjected to unfair treatment in terms of promotion, performance evaluations, training, and so on at work. It causes a loss of productivity among female workers, thus affecting their careers.

Lower Self-Esteem

Studies have suggested that men have higher self-esteem on average than women. One of the primary reasons behind this is gender discrimination in the workplace. Some employers still believe that men are better at work than women, which may make females have lower self-esteem.

This can significantly impact the victim’s confidence and may also reduce their overall work performance.

Workplace Conflict

Although few women raise their voices to bring about change, many women suffer in silence and only seek help after experiencing years of emotional abuse and harassment by managers or colleagues.

Those who triumph are often criticized as “dramatic” or “toxic”. As a result, employees find it difficult to understand what is happening around them, leading to confusion, resentment, and even conflict between coworkers.

Unhealthy Living Conditions

Gender discrimination in the workplace can lead to employees having poor living conditions and little to no less access to the basic things they need to thrive and survive.

There is a pay gap between female and male employees, with the women workers making less money for the same job or task than men. And the pay gap may be even wider depending on color, national origin, and race.

It has been seen that women have higher rates of poverty, higher levels of student debt, and less savings in retirement as compared to men.

This gap in pay and other related factors can cause more stress while making it difficult for the victims to afford safe housing, fresh food, and health insurance. It can also create an unfair and unavoidable difference in the health and lifestyle of marginalized groups.

If you think you are a victim of gender discrimination and have been suffering due to physical or mental issues, you can file a charge with EEOC. 

At Hershey Law, we’ll help you file a complaint against your employer. Our expert lawyers will also assist you with the paperwork while using their best practices to help you get justice. 

How Should Employees Handle Gender Discrimination?

Every employee needs to know how to handle gender discrimination to stop it and get the benefits they deserve. Whether you have or haven’t fallen prey to gender discrimination at work, you need to follow these steps:

Consult Your Employee Handbook

Besides the employee benefits, the employee handbook also covers some other things, which may include a process to complain about gender discrimination and harassment.

California law does not mandate employers to have an employee handbook. Therefore, you can contact the senior authorities if your employer doesn’t have one.

Notify Your Employer or Human Resources

Human resources and employers should be notified about any gender discrimination. If you think you are a victim of gender discrimination, you can inform the senior authorities via email or other sources of communication.

Document the Discriminatory Act

Proving charges of gender discrimination can be daunting; therefore, you should document everything that might support the discrimination claims. Some forms of gender discrimination at work can also lead to termination so you should consider documenting everything into something you can access all the time.

It would be prudent to save all messages, emails, and notices that promote or blatantly show gender discrimination. Keep in mind that California law does not allow anyone to record an individual without their consent so if you are recording your employer or coworkers, they should be aware of it.

Report Gender Discrimination to a Government Agency

If you think that informing HR or the employer about gender discrimination has not helped, the next step you can take is reaching out to a government agency. You can contact EEOC for sex-based discrimination and file your complaint with them.


You can only file a gender discrimination complaint if your employer has at least 15 employees. Also, you need to file the complaint within 180 days of the date of the incident. 

Consult an Employment Discrimination Lawyer

In order to file a successful sexual discrimination charge against your employer, you must ensure that there is solid ground. A discrimination lawyer will help you evaluate the situation based on the circumstances. The lawyers will also tell you whether you have a case for gender discrimination while taking care of the paperwork and other formalities.

Do You Suspect Gender Discrimination at Work? Contact Hershey Law 

You should act fast if you think your employer has discriminated against you based on your sex or gender. You cannot win over a company that treats its workers unfairly. For this reason, you should always consult a legal expert before filing a lawsuit.

At Hershey Law, we know how important it is to protect yourself from unjust practices. Our highly skilled attorneys have recovered millions of dollars from fortune 500 companies for our clients. We want to see justice prevail. And when we do, our clients get back what was taken away from them.

Call us at (310) 929-2190 for a free case evaluation, and put a full stop to gender discrimination.

Hershey Law will help you get fair and equal rights as well as the compensation you deserve.