Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality

By Raymond F. Gregory | Go to book overview

Eleven
Sex Discrimination at Various
Stages of the Employment
Relationship

An employer's discriminatory sex bias may motivate it to act adversely to a female worker's interests at any time between her interview as a job applicant and her termination following long-term employment.


Hiring

Before Title VII, newspaper advertisements for job openings were gender oriented. It was a common practice to list help-wanted ads in columns headed “Male” or “Female.” Other advertisements specified a preference for one sex or the other: “Excellent opportunity for a young and attractive woman”; “Male office clerks wanted.” We rarely, if ever, see this type of advertisement today. Now employers generally have no knowledge of an applicant's sex until a resume or the applicant appears in its offices.

In one case, a female applicant for an entry-level position was asked about her marital status, the number of her children, whether they were legitimate, her child care arrangements, and her future childbearing plans. No evidence was offered by the employer to suggest that male job applicants were similarly questioned. Under EEOC regulations, questions of this type violate Title VII. 1 An employer may not have in place two interview policies for job applicants—one for men and one for women—without violating Title VII. 2

Madison County, New York, officials asked equally repugnant questions of job applicant Maureen Barbano (see chapter 5). One of the county officials participating in Barbano's interview asked about her plans for raising a family. As he explained it, he did not want the county to hire a woman who would later

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