Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm

Call The Right Attorney™

No Fee Guarantee

Discrimination For No Female Safety Equipment?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2020 | Employment Discrimination, LGBTQ Discrimination, Retaliation |

Discrimination For No Female Safety Equipment?

Best Gender Discrimination Attorney Answers: What are some examples of gender discrimination? My job only provides safety equipment in men’s sizes, is that legal? Does my employer have to provide me with safety equipment that fits women? What can I do if my boss refuses to provide female workers with safety equipment that fits? How do I file a gender discrimination complaint? Discrimination For No Female Safety Equipment?

I have a confession to make, I am a huge nerd. Comic books,
Game of Thrones, Star Wars, you name it. One of my favorite genres of nerd-dom
is science fiction. As a kid, I dreamed of exploring the stars with Captain
Jean-Luc Piccard or Captain Catherine Janeway. Even now on a clear night, I
catch myself staring up at the sky and dreaming about what it would be like to
go to space. When Start Trek gave Janeway the command of a starship and Star
Wars made Rey the main protagonist, it seemed that every little girl should be
able of dreaming of becoming an astronaut. (And, btw, I may be in the minority,
but I loved Rise of Skywalker).

However, recently NASA suffered a giant embarrassment, no I
am not talking about space force. NASA flubbed what was supposed to be a
historic moment for women in a major way.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch were set to make history as
the members of the first all-female spacewalk in history of humankind. This was
such a momentous occasion that news outlets were covering the event as part of
women’s history month. It was meant to be an incredible display of the strides
women had made in male-dominated industries. However, just five days before the
spacewalk was set to take place NASA announced that only one of the female astronauts
could take part in what was supposed to be a historic event. Apparently, NASA
did not have enough properly sized spacesuits for two women. Think about that,
NASA didn’t have two female
spacesuits! What? According to NASA if they tried to alter one of their
existing uniforms it would create a considerable risk to the astronauts. NASA
was also worried that they would not be able to have a suit ready in the time
for the spacewalk. The spacewalk went on as scheduled, but instead of two
females it was completed by a team made up of a male and female astronaut.

NASA’s flubbing of the first all-female spacewalk is the
reflection of a greater problem down here on earth. When an employer fails to
provide female employees with proper equipment, they not only jeopardize the
safety of their female employees, they also prevent female employees from
experiencing new opportunities, and may be denying female employees the
opportunity to succeed whereas male employees have no such barriers. In
employment law, we call this discrimination.

Employers are legally required to protect employees from
dangerous workplace environments, and hazardous conditions that create a risk
of injury to the employee. That legal obligation often includes providing the
mandated personal protective equipment. Think hardhats on construction
sites and neon vests for road workers. Employers are also required to train employees
on the use of personal protective equipment including when personal protective
equipment is necessary, how to put it on, take it off, adjust and generally
wear the correct personal protective equipment, the limitations of the personal
protective equipment, and how to properly care for and maintain the personal
protective equipment.

In a 2016 survey conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was found that women made up
51.7 percent of the U.S. workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found
that there is a growing number of women in construction and manufacturing jobs.
However, as the number of women in these historically male-dominated fields
grows concerns about companies having enough of the correct personal protective
equipment gear to protect their new female employees.

Common examples of employers failing to provide women with
the correct personal protective equipment include ill-fitting work clothes,
including flame resistant clothing, harnesses, eye protection, hard hats, and
gloves. The issue of proper personal protective equipment impacts a lot of
different kinds of jobs and in a variety of ways. A perfect example of this is
the healthcare field, particularly nursing. Historically the nursing field has
been made up primarily of women workers. However, with more and more men
joining the health care workforce as nurses employers must now take into
consideration the different personal protective equipment needs of men and women
and make sure that they are providing personal protective equipment in the
appropriate sizes for all employees, not just the majority of them.

The consequences of an employer failing to provide properly
fitting personal protective equipment are twofold. There is an obvious risk to
the employee’s safety. It is entirely foreseeable that an employee may be
injured because of an ill-fitting safety harness, be hit in the head by falling
debris due to an insufficient hard hat, be caught in a machine because the
equipment given to them by their employer was too loose or baggy, or similar to
what happened at NASA, an employee may be denied a certain opportunity because
the personal protective equipment could not be safely used. Ill-fitting and
improper may also lead an employee to file a complaint with the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration.

Discrimination For No Female Safety Equipment?

regular readers of our blog know, 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
. Despite the fact that these classes have been protected for
over 50 years some employers continue to violate the law. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, 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
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 discrimination can take on
many forms, including failing to provide individuals of a certain gender with
the necessary personal protective equipment to perform their job safely, or
denying individuals promotional opportunities because the employer only has
equipment for men to perform the work.

Similarly, it is illegal for an employer
to retaliate against an employee who files a complaint with OSHA
regarding ill-fitting and unsafe personal protective equipment. Employees who
report illegal activity at work may risk retaliation by their employers,
including wrongful
. However, the
good news is that there are both state and federal laws that offer protections
for whistleblowers. OSHA even has specific protections for whistleblowers and
protects whistleblowers who report unsafe or dangerous working conditions. This
typically affects employees who work in industrial or manufacturing fields and
have witnessed their employer knowingly, or purposefully skimping on safety
measures. Employees who report the employer’s misconduct can then avail
themselves of the protections offered by the OSHA if the employer retaliates
against them for having blown the whistle. In fact, our lawyers have covered
the subject extensively on our employment blog. (See What
Protections Do I Have As A Whistleblower?
; Can I Be
Fired For Reporting Financial Fraud At My Company?
; and Can I Be
Fired For Reporting A Customer’s Illegal Acts?

Discrimination, including refusal to
provide adequate personal protective equipment that is based on race/color, religion, gender/sex, national
origin, age, disability discrimination, and military status is illegal under Ohio law is R.C. § 4112.02.
Similarly, retaliating against employees who report safety violations is an
unlawful activity. If you have been discriminated against based on your race,
color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry
or you feel that your employer is retaliating against you for filing a report
with a government agency you should not wait to call the right attorney to schedule a free
and confidential
consultation. Call our office at 866-797-6040. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with an expert employment law attorneys to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to
protect them. Discrimination and retaliation are illegal, and employers should
be held accountable if they discriminate against their employees in any
fashion. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still
employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and
how to protect yourself from retaliation and discrimination.

Discrimination For No Female Safety Equipment?


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. If you are saying, “my boss treats men better
than women” or “a less qualified man was promoted over me.” 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 Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian
, or any
individual attorney.