What is Sex-Based Discrimination in Employment Practices?

Picture portraying gender inequality, unequal discrimination on lady or woman such as career, work or social rights issue

A crucial component in running a successful business is the methods of hiring that you implement in your business practice. There are various methods promoted on the internet to ensure you are hiring employees that will increase the efficiency of your business. However, one method that every single business owner must implement is avoiding any sort of discrimination. One must be wary of discriminating against a potential employee; especially if the discrimination is based upon sex.

What is Considered Sex-Based Discrimination?

Sex-based, or gender-based, discrimination is defined as any prejudice against another person based upon his or her sex or gender identity. A common example of sex-based discrimination would be paying a male employee, who works the same job and has the same amount of education and experience, more money than a female employee. Another example is giving a female employee more paid sick leave than a male employee, without providing a valid and logical explanation, based solely on the fact that one employee is female and the other is male.

However, examples of sex-based discrimination during the hiring process can be a little trickier; yet, the most common example is having two potential candidates apply for the same position, both with similar education and experience, and choosing the male employee over the female employee for misconceptions such as: (1) she would work less if she were to have a child, or (2) she is a woman and might be “more emotional”.

How Do You Avoid Sex-Based Discrimination When Hiring a Potential Employee?

There are different ways to avoid gender-based discrimination. Whether your goal is to prevent it from happening in the workplace or in the hiring process, some of the options remain the same.

The best ways to avoid sex-based discrimination when hiring a potential employee include: (1) routinely updating anti-discrimination policies with your office manager or human resources department; (2) providing regular training to employees, including supervisors, on how to approach certain situations and how to avoid pre-conceived biases that may prejudice the prospective employee; or (3) if there are complaints about gender-based discrimination, communicating with the person who feels discriminated, or the prospective employee and find a way to resolve the problem so that it does not happen in the future.

It is important to remember that everyone is human and that sometimes people do not realize they are discriminating against others. Therefore, communication and accountability are key to help those who do not realize what they are doing is wrong, as well as to reprimanding those who are aware of what they are doing and proceed to do it nonetheless.

Famous Examples of Sex-Based Discrimination during the Hiring Process

Two famous examples of sex-based discrimination during the hiring process involve two very well-known names: (1) Wal-Mart and (2) Hooters.

Wal-Mart, the multi-billion-dollar wholesale corporation, was sued in 2020 by the U.S. government. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), sued Wal-Mart on behalf of several women who were discriminated by Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart had adopted a physical abilities test in order to determine the capability of the applicant to work in its stores; this disproportionately excluded female order-filler applicants. In order to have the lawsuit dismissed, Wal-Mart was forced to not only cease this practice, but also pay the EEOC $20 million dollars in settlement.

Hooters, the restaurant chain known for its sports bar environment and female servers, was sued in 1997 for hiring process which consisted of a employment method of only hiring female servers. The restaurant chain had to pay $3.75 million dollars in settlement to quiet the lawsuit against it; several men were turned down for jobs because of their gender and thus brought this lawsuit. Another part of the settlement agreement was for the restaurant to create support jobs, such as bartenders and hosts, in order to hire more male employees for those positions and still retaining its hiring process of hiring mainly female servers.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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