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My Company Doesn’t Allow Women To Be Promoted!

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2019 | Areas of Practice, Equal Pay Act Claims, Gender Discrimination, Wrongful Termination |

Best Gender Discrimination Attorney Answers: What can I do if my boss only promotes men? Can employers refuse to give women a chance to be promoted? Can I sue if my employer pays me less as a woman than it pays less qualified men? How do I find the best gender discrimination lawyer in Ohio?

At The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our employment lawyers work every day with individuals who have discrimination issues that are based on their gender. Many of the issues surrounding workplaces favor male employees and allow male employees many more opportunities to advance to higher, and better paying positions. In fact, you may have read about some particularly noteworthy gender discrimination issues here on this employment discrimination blog written by our lawyers. (See My Job Promoted A Less Qualified Man!; Can I Be Fired Because My Boss Doesn’t Think I’m Feminine Enough? Can I Still Bring A Gender Discrimination Claim If I Am Forced To Quit?).

Gender is one of the protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the similar Ohio law R.C. § 4112.02(A). Both employment discrimination laws make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual based on race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, age, and disability discrimination. Despite the fact that these classes have been protected for over 50 years some employers continue to violate the law. Even after they have previously been sued, some large employers seem to think they are above the law. (That’s the best part of our job as lawyers – to make sure they don’t get away with it).

Let’s take Walmart for example. Walmart is one of the worlds largest employers. It has more than 11,000 stores in 28 countries, Walmart’s annual earnings are over $500.3 billion. Around 2.2. million people worldwide work for Walmart with 1.5 million of those employees working in the United States. Yet with all of these employees Walmart seems to struggle with finding what they determine to be qualified female manager. Or the more likely scenario, Walmart is discriminating against their female employees, in terms of both hiring and pay.

Walmart has been sued before for gender discrimination, including in one of the most publicized employment law cases in the past 20 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes. In Dukes, a Walmart employee filed a class-action lawsuit against the Walmart. In this lawsuit Betty Dukes accused Walmart of regularly passing over her, and many other women for raises and promotions, and instead promoting less qualified men. Dukes’ case went all the way through the court system and eventually made it to the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court threw out Duke’s case, not because Walmart wasn’t discriminating against women, but for a legal reason. The Supreme Court found that the class action case was too broad and was not specific enough for the Court to make a ruling on the discrimination issue. However, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote in her dissenting opinion that Dukes had shown “gender bias suffused Walmart’s corporate culture.” You would think that Justice Ginsberg’s rebuke and the fact that the case went all the way to the Supreme Court would cause Walmart to change the way they do things, but it seems that the Supreme Court’s side step of the discrimination issue only emboldened Walmart to continue with its discriminatory practices.

While Betty Dukes passed away in 2017, her memory lives on, her New York Times obituary remembered Dukes as a person who “helped draw attention to the working conditions of low-paid workers in so-called big box stores that dominate the retail landscape.” The good news is that the women of Walmart continue the fight that Dukes started.

Lisa Youman first started at Walmart in 1987 as a sales associate in one of Walmart’s Tallahassee locations. Youman was a hard worker, and an exemplary employee who wanted to rise as high as possible on the corporate ladder. Youman worked her way up from sales associate to department manager, and then to support manager. But Youman didn’t want to stop there, she wanted to become a store manager. Given her experience, and years of loyalty and great service to the company Youman felt she was ready to take this next step. Instead of promoting Youman, Walmart decided to promote a male employee who was lower ranked and had less retail experience than Youman. Imagine dedicating over 30 years of your life to a company just to get passed over because of your gender! (All of our e/m discrimination lawyers are cringing right now). To make matters worse, this wasn’t the first, or even the second time Walmart passed over Youman in favor of a less experienced male worker. Youman asked her boss why she had been passed over, and she was told that because the job she wanted involved moving furniture she didn’t have the strength for the position, and only a man could do it. Youman told Vox.

“My response to them was that if I needed something to be moved and I couldn’t do it, I could always ask someone, but it didn’t matter to them because it was then something else,” and “They also told me I was ‘overqualified.’ From then, it was clear to me how hard it was to be a woman at Walmart.”

Youman never received the promotion she had worked so hard for, and eventually had to leave Walmart. Youman’s story is not unique as a story in the Miami New Times found multiple stories from other female employees:

“In one case, Lisa Rohdy of Brevard County says she was told she “was not cut out” for a promotion because she “had children” and they were “her priority.” In a different case, Kimberly Sparks of Glades County claims she was told her store needed “a man to do this job if we want it done right.” In yet another instance, Jacksonville resident Pamela Peck said she was supervising men who were being paid more than she was.

The women workers bringing this claim against Walmart also claim that Walmart systematically targeted men for promotion. Walmart would offer training programs to male employees while telling female employees that they “were not cut out” for the position, or that “their children should be their first priority. Even at the entry level women were usually put to work as cashiers and men were allowed to work in busier areas of the store where they were more likely to be noticed by management. This was in large part due to gender stereotypes that Walmart bought into such as men are stronger than women and therefore able to perform more physically demanding tasks. (Fun detour: I think this women may disagree with them.)

In conjunction with their claim for gender discrimination the women of Walmart have also claim that male employees were being payed more than their female counter parts. For example, Pamela Peck, who was a manager at a Jacksonville Walmart said she was managing men who were being paid more than she was! I am not sure about you, but I don’t know of many jobs that pay the workers more than the manager! Other women claim that while they started at minimum wage, men who worked in the same position earned as much as $14 or $21 dollars an hour!

As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about before, gender discrimination can be found when an employer takes any adverse action against an employee based on their protected class such as gender. An adverse action may include failure to promote, failure to hire, and termination. (See My Job Promoted A Less Qualified Man!; Can I Be Fired Because My Boss Doesn’t Think I’m Feminine Enough? Can I Still Bring A Gender Discrimination Claim If I Am Forced To Quit?).

Similarly, paying workers differently based upon their gender is also illegal under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). (See Why Do Women At Work Make Less Than Men? I Need The Top Gender Discrimination Attorney And Best Equal Pay Lawyers In Ohio!) The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay men and women who perform the same job duties the same wage.

More than 100 Florida women are now moving forward with this gender discrimination lawsuit against Walmart. These women are seeking damages for the discrimination they have individually experienced as well as justice for the decades of discrimination women have experienced while working at Walmart. This law suit should be an inspiration to all individuals who have experienced gender discrimination, and a warning to all employers no matter how large.

If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your gender or sex, then call the right attorney. It is never appropriate to discriminate against female employees. Discrimination against women includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied a promotion, and denied wages or not receiving equal pay. When you call the right attorney Call our office at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims.

Disclaimer:

The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to gender discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.