Ohio laws clearly protect women from gender discrimination in the workplace. Your progress in the American workforce should depend on your character, efforts, and skills you bring to the table — not on your race, sexual preference, religious affiliation, age, or gender. If your employers treat you differently at work due to your sex, you may be a victim of gender discrimination.
Below, we share answers to some of the most common questions our employment attorneys receive about gender discrimination.
What types of workplace discrimination laws does Ohio provide?
Several sections of the Ohio Revised Codes (ORC) prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their gender. In essence, the laws require employers to be blind to gender when they make decisions about an employee. Below are some of the primary statutes dealing with gender discrimination:
- ORC § 4112.02 – Deals with unlawful discriminatory practices in the workplace. It is unlawful “for any employer, because of the race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry of any person, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.”
- ORC § 4111.17 – This section prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages.
- OAC § 4112-5-05 – This section of the Ohio Administrative Code lists various unlawful discriminatory practices, e.g., employers cannot offer different retirement benefits, forgo fringe benefits, refuse to hire or promote, or make any other decisions based on gender.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
If an employer does not hire a pregnant woman, fires her, refuses to give her a promotion, or otherwise discriminates against her on the basis of her pregnancy, it is pregnancy discrimination — a practice explicitly prohibited by state and federal law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires that employers must be blind to pregnancy when they make certain decisions; pregnant women are to receive the same treatment as similarly situated non-pregnant women and men.
What types of discrimination do women face at work?
Our office receives calls nearly every day from women facing discrimination at work. Some of the common threads we hear involve issues such as the following:
- They earn less than their male counterparts for the same position.
- Their employers refused to promote them and instead promoted less-qualified males.
- Their employers fired them while they were on leave giving birth and caring for their newborn.
- They did not receive a bonus that male workers received.
- They were treated differently, or were subject to harassment, because they are a woman, such as being subject to name-calling, catcalls, derogatory statements and gestures, etc.
Does Ohio law consider sexual harassment workplace discrimination?
Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination. It comes in many forms, and both male co-workers and supervisors often partake. Sexual harassment involves uninvited behavior or comments regarding sex or gender that creates a hostile work environment. Below are just a few examples of behavior that may qualify as harassment:
- Looking at sexually explicit videos with co-workers
- Making sexual gestures or statements
- Catcalls, whistling, staring at someone in a sexually suggestive manner
- Actual physical contact, e.g., pinching, grabbing, or purposefully rubbing up against someone
- Sharing sexual anecdotes
- Sending sexual or suggestive emails, texts, or letters
How does women’s pay compare to men’s pay in Ohio?
Women have come a long way in terms of equal pay, but unfortunately, there is still an unacceptable gap. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women in Ohio only earn 78% of what their male counterparts earn, leaving a 22% gap. The median annual income for men in Ohio in 2013 was $47,323; for women it was $36,569.
“With a record number of women in the workforce and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-bread winners for their families, equal pay for women is critical to families’ economic security . . . Both legislative and executive action is needed to enable women to bring home the pay they have rightfully earned,” the AAUW states.
Where do I turn if I am victim of gender discrimination?
If you have been subjected to gender discrimination at work in Ohio, you should talk to an Ohio workplace discrimination attorney about your situation. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may advise you to take any or all of the following steps:
- Let your supervisor know you feel discriminated against.
- Take detailed notes of all discriminatory events. Describe the event and note the time, location, and persons involved.
- Do not destroy any notes or objects used to harass you. Keep them in a safe place.
- Make copies of employee handbooks or company policy/procedure manuals.
Contact Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. to speak to one of our attorneys. We can review your case, explain your options, and, if appropriate, help you seek justice and the damages you deserve. Call us today at 513-665-9500.