By Thomas More Holland, Esquire
While the topic of gender inequality in the workplace may seem like a conversation we would have had in the early 20th Century, this form of employment discrimination has emerged as a hot topic in recent conversations started by women such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who have found a way to rise to the top. In her numerous talks throughout the nation, Sandburg has highlighted the challenges women face in the corporate world. She explains that women hold only 15-16% of board seats and top executive positions and that these numbers have had little to no upward progression since 2002. But the jarring numbers don’t only affect executives – discrimination in pay and promotion opportunities spans experience, job sectors, and positions.
Recently, Harvard Business Review performed a study on women in the workplace. The article stated that “even when women are initially paid more at hiring, their salaries trailed their male counterparts by 5% after two years.” 1 Furthermore, the study showed that the lower pay was not correlated with women picking jobs in sectors that paid less. Reports show that in 2011 women earn, “only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 23 percent. Women, on average, earn less than men in virtually every single occupation for which there is significant earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio.”2 This figure came as a shock to many people who thought we had come much further toward equality in the workplace.
While Sheryl Sandburg promotes solutions to discrimination such as leaning in, effort on the part of the female employee will frequently not completely solve the discrimination problem. This is where an attorney can help. Recently, Philadelphia Weekly’s senior writer Tara Murtha filed suit against her employer in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 3 She claims that she is paid $2,000 less than a man who was hired after her for an identical position within the company. 4 It is in cases such as this that an attorney can guide you and help to remedy the situation.
There are of course difficulties in proving many instances of discrimination, but there are also clear-cut cases where a woman has more experience and education, but is overlooked for a promotion or paid a lower salary based solely on her gender. If we are going to make headway on gender equality, we must prosecute companies that are guilty you know has been overlooked for a promotion on the basis of her gender, please give my office a call at (215) 592-8080.of this practice and send a you know has been overlooked for a promotion on the basis of her gender, please give my office a call at (215) 592-8080.