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When the boss doesn't play fair

The law protects New Jersey workers from various forms of discrimination in the workplace. Perhaps you've heard stories of people whose bosses wrongfully terminated their positions for one reason or another. For instance, more than one woman wound up losing her job just after telling her boss she was pregnant. Others say they were only trying to protect the community at large when they reported safety violations to the appropriate officials, only to later learn their positions had suddenly been made obsolete.

Another issue that often causes workplace contention is gender. Do you always feel like your boss treats you differently simply because you're the opposite gender?  The idea of gender bias in a 21st century work environment may seem a bit ridiculous to some. However, if you're the subject of this type of discrimination, you understand that it's anything but silly. In fact, it can be a very serious matter when it negatively affects your ability to carry out your workplace duties.

Signs of gender discrimination

Sometimes, a person feels uncomfortable when interacting with a boss at work, but can't quite place a finger on the exact reason why. This is because some forms of discrimination are very subtle. If you experience one or more of the following situations at work, you may be the victim of gender bias:

  • New opportunity offers you receive are always of lesser value than propositions made to your colleagues.
  • When you work on a group project, everyone is given due credit except you.
  • When you try to assert yourself at company meetings, you are told you're being too aggressive, yet others' assertiveness is welcomed.
  • You believe there's a connection between your success and the derogatory names you hear in reference to yourself.
  • Your boss constantly interrupts or ignores you at meetings, but does not treat members of the opposite sex the same way.

There are other (perhaps more serious) signs that you are persecuted at work because of your gender, including always earning a lower income than your colleagues, even though you do more work and have better credentials. Many people in your situation decide enough is enough and plan their actions accordingly.

What you can do to rectify the situation

Aside from quitting your job on the spot and walking out the door, you may want to consider what options are available to address gender bias problems in an appropriate manner at work. The following ideas may apply:

  • Remain calm and do not retaliate in any unjust way.
  • Approach your boss and request a private meeting to discuss the issue.
  • Keep a journal to write dates of each problem incident, providing names and details of events as they occur.
  • Reach out for support if the problem does not go away.

Sometimes, a situation is resolved after a concerned employee confronts a boss and requests an explanation for his or her discriminatory behavior. Other times, matters only get worse, with a worst-case scenario being unjust firing from a job position. Most New Jersey workers can't afford to unexpectedly lose their entire income. Besides, even if you do find a replacement job in a timely manner, you'd likely worry that a similar problem may arise.

Another option is to discuss your problem with an employment law attorney. You may have grounds for filing a gender discrimination lawsuit. To determine the best course of action in your particular situation, an attorney can launch an investigation based on the verbal details you provide and any written documentation you prepared.

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