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Friday, February 21, 2014

gender based discrimination at workplace and law suits...

Do you have the right equipment to do your job well is one of the Qs !!

Telangana is all set to become 29th state of the Union with the Parliament approving the historic bill to carve it out of Andhra Pradesh amid vociferous protests by members from Seemandhra region as also from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena. The bitter opposition of Seemandhra MPs, supported by some regional parties, led to extraordinary scenes with a cordon of Congress MPs shielding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha on Thursday against aggressive Telangana opponents.   Seemandhra Member of Parliament L Rajagopal, who had created a ruckus by splashing pepper spray in Lok Sabha, on Tuesday resigned from Parliament.

……. The Women's Reservation Bill has been a political raw nerve for nearly a decade now. It has always triggered heated debates in Parliament and outside. Its advocates say the Bill is essential for active political participation of women. Opponents argue that reservation would only help women of elitist groups gain political power, aggravating the plight of the poor and deprived sections. The Women's Reservation Bill is  the proposed legislation to reserve 33.3 percent seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women - introduced in the Lok Sabha in Sept.  1996. Though it has been introduced in Parliament several times since then, the Bill could not be passed because of lack of political consensus.  The Upper House Rajya Sabha passed the bill in Mar 2010 but  Lower House Lok Sabha has not yet voted on the bill. Here is something on consideration or rather discrimination at workplace based on gender.  

Earnings differentials or occupational differentiation is not in and of itself evidence of employment discrimination. A woman who has the same job title as a man, has the same level of seniority and equal responsibilities, but is paid less, is considered as being discriminated against. Three Tennessee women and long-time employees of a famous US chainshop filed a class action lawsuit against the discount retailer, claiming they were denied promotions because of their gender and paid less than their male counterparts. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Nashville argets employment practices  and its attorneys are quoted as saying that the complaint “seeks to end the chain’s  discriminatory practices regarding the pay and promotion of female employees,” besides seeking unspecified punitive damages.

According to one of the plaintiffs, she was accidentally handed a paycheck of a fellow assistant manager, and “discovered he was earning thousands of dollars more per year that she was despite having considerably less experience,” the lawsuit claims. Federal laws are enforced by the U.S. Employment Equal Opportunity Commission to ensure that women are protected from gender-based discrimination in the workplace. This discrimination can come in the form of sexual harassment, withholding promotions based on gender, giving a different job title to a woman and preventing women from participating in training opportunities.
Actress Trisha as gun-totting officer [representative photo]

More interesting is the case of  Female firearms officers who won £70,000 payout for sex discrimination - because their guns were too big for their small hands.  According to Daily Mail UK, two ‘petite’ firearms officers are set to receive a pay-out of £70,000 after winning a sex discrimination case over the size of their big guns. Victoria Wheatley and Rachael Giles said their weapons were too big for their small hands and as a result they could not reach the trigger, a tribunal has heard.

The two women struggled with the grip of the pistols they were using – a Glock 17 – and they also claimed their heads and legs were too small for their protective gear. The case, held at the Central London Employment Tribunal last week, found the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) guilty of discrimination against both officers in the provision of suitable firearms and safety equipment. The two officers were based at different stations; both females, who were described as being ‘petite in stature’ and with ‘small hands’, asked on several occasions for a smaller and suitable grip on the weapon when they could not reach the trigger, but this did not happen, the tribunal heard. They also said their trainers failed to adjust their pistols while carrying out a test shoot.

They both complained separately about their problems, after it is understood they did not receive as high a test marks as their male colleagues which put them at a disadvantage. Their solicitor said: ‘Continued failure at these shoot days results in an unsatisfactory assessment, which could lead to the officer being dismissed.’ Miss Wheatley, 39, and Miss Giles, 32, also said there were other problems during the tests, including protection equipment which did not fit. They argued the helmets and kneepads were too large for their legs and heads which hindered their performance.

A spokesman for the federation said the officers were expecting to receive a pay-out of £35,000 each on the basis of sex discrimination – which included their reputational damage as they received lower marks on their tests as a result. In December last year it emerged a police community support officer who injured her knee while investigating a burglary was awarded £4,000 in compensation. Pauline Harrison, 53, was responding to a 999 call reporting a break-in at a derelict school when she fell over a 3ft-high wooden fence.

Not all lawsuits are successful ~ WPC Kelly Jones triggered public outrage and criticism from her own chief constable last year for suing a burglary victim for £50,000 after tripping over a kerb.  It was reported in various press that a  33 year old PC planned to sue petrol station owner, after she injured her leg and wrist. She claimed he failed to ensure she was “reasonably safe” while she searched his premises following a suspected break-in. The civil action was reportedly withdraw later.  The women cop injured her left leg and right wrist after an alarm went off at a garage in Thetford, Norfolk, last August. She said the garage owner made no attempt to light the area or warn her about the high kerb. She had to go to hospital and also took six weeks' sick leave from work.  Some media reports suggested that she sought vast compensation while some put it that she was seeking only monies that covered the income she had lost as a result of her injury.  There were further reports that she was also taking separate action against Norfolk police after allegedly injuring her knee in a car crash. She was understood to have been a passenger in a patrol car which skidded off the road during a high-speed pursuit.

Before concluding reports state that a 23-year old woman in Beijing has won what’s believed to be China’s first gender discrimination lawsuit. A recent graduate who was refused a job on the basis of her gender, received a settlement of 30,000 yuan (about $4,955) from the company.

Interesting to say the least !!


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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