It might not feel like it sometimes, but we are making progress as a society. Yet, some of us are getting complacent and choosing to ignore that some widespread problems still exist. In the workforce, there’s no bigger example of that than the hardships many a woman will still have to face. But now, in most cases, the legal support is there for you. Here’s how you deal with those issues that can threaten to get in the way of your career.
Some of the most common issues in the workplace revolve around those who have the most power in it. Not all employers and managers engage in discrimination. But when they do, they have the most power to make it really impact on your career. If you’re being denied access to training opportunities, potential promotion, or access to work utilities and facilities on the basis of your gender, then you should find help about discrimination issues.
Those are textbook cases of discrimination, even if they’re not outwardly expressed as such. If it can be found that employers don’t have or aren’t following policies on handling their female employees, then they could be held financially and legally responsible.
It might be from a colleague or from an employer, but whoever is the cause, you shouldn’t tolerate workplace harassment. Make no mistake, any comments, behavior or contact that feels inappropriate counts as office misconduct. An unwanted advance, even it’s only verbal, should be taken seriously by the HR team or the employer. If it’s not, then it will be taken seriously in the courts. The right answer isn’t always to take to a higher level. Some people don’t know they’re being inappropriate and it might solve the issue a lot more peacefully and happily if you talk to them privately and let them know you are not okay with their actions. If it’s persistent, however, that’s when you shouldn’t feel bad about taking it up higher at all.
There’s a lot of arguing about how maternity leave factors into the workplace. Some will assert that it’s a genuine disruption to employers. But employers face ‘disruptions’ all the time. People get sick, people take time off, people go on vacation. Maternity leave is a lot more important than many of those cases but it gets singled out as a thorn in the side of an employer. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about taking maternity leave and starting a family. Don’t let employers take advantage, either. If you have been working for an employer for 12 months or 1,250 hours or for an employer with at least 50 employees in the area, you have rights under the Family Leave and Medical Act. Any reprisals, such as not providing unpaid leave, taking you off health insurance or not guaranteeing your job when you get back are illegal.
We are making progress, it’s true, but we can never afford to assume that we have ‘made enough’. There are still wrongs that need to be righted and forces pushing back on our rights. Make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to exercise your rights. Don’t let them take what they can get.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.