Glass Ceiling

Austin Attorneys Helping Gender Discrimination Victims Assert Their Rights

A majority of female managers cite their gender or sex as the greatest obstacle in their careers. Many women can see a high-level corporate position within reach but bump into a "glass ceiling" that keeps them from achieving that position. Glass ceilings are not simply an individual barrier but a structural barrier that tends to apply to women as a group simply because of their gender. If you have hit a glass ceiling in your career, and you believe that it is because of your sex or gender, the Austin gender discrimination lawyers at Wiley Walsh, P.C. want to hear about your situation. We can review the facts of your particular case and offer counsel and legal representation as appropriate.

Fighting Against the Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling typically involves not being promoted to a high-level position, but it can also include being paid less than a man for equal work. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 prohibit sex discrimination. In order to recover damages in a glass ceiling claim, you will need to prove that you are a woman who applied for and was qualified for a promotion and that after you were denied the promotion, your employer left the position open or filled it with a man who had similar or lesser qualifications.

In most cases, an employer will try to put forward a non-discriminatory reason for why you were not promoted to a top position. It is rare for an employer to admit that the reason why you were not promoted was because of your gender. Accordingly, you will need to show that the claimed basis for not promoting you was actually a pretext for discrimination. Evidence to show that the reason is pretextual can include proof that you were substantially more qualified than whoever was chosen, inconsistent reasons provided by an employer, deviations from the company's ordinary procedures in the process of promoting, and evidence that male candidates were treated better than you were.

Sometimes sexual harassment is evidence of a glass ceiling. Sexual harassment is more often about trying to “put a woman in her place” or to demoralize a female employee than it is about sexual attraction. Many women will not speak out about harassment for fear of jeopardizing their careers. Sometimes a supervisor conditions a promotion on an employee engaging in sexual behavior. In other words, a supervisor might imply that you could break the glass ceiling by permitting harassment. This is quid pro quo harassment. It is important to report the supervisor's actions to HR or their superior and to memorialize this notification in writing.

You might be concerned about the repercussions for reporting the harassment. If you have been sexually harassed on the job and complained about it, you may hit the glass ceiling as a form of retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited under federal and state anti-discrimination laws. It exists when an adverse employment decision, such as a failure to promote, is taken because a worker engaged in a protected activity, such as filing a charge with the EEOC or complaining to HR. Even if a court disagrees that you were a victim of discrimination or harassment, it can find that you suffered from retaliation and award you damages for it.

If you can establish a Title VII discrimination case based on a glass ceiling, the possible remedies that may be awarded include back pay, emotional distress damages, out-of-pocket costs, being put in the position that you were denied, and punitive damages.

Discuss Your Situation with a Gender Discrimination Lawyer in Austin

If you have been denied a promotion due to the glass ceiling, you should consult an experienced employment discrimination attorney. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents employees in cities such as Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or complete our online form for an appointment with an Austin attorney.

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