Uber Technologies Inc. is the latest company to face allegations of workplace sexual discrimination and harassment based on its treatment of female employees. Now a target of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation, the ridesharing company must defend allegations that it systematically paid its female employees less than its male employees and discriminated against women in its hiring processes.
Federal law protects workers from gender-based discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. One of the many protections resulting from the passage of the Act was a woman’s right to fair and equal treatment in the workplace.
Employers may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of their gender, including pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions.
Different Types of Discrimination
Sex discrimination can take many forms and is often seen in the disparate treatment of women with respect to the hiring process, including interviewing, starting salaries and pay structures, career advancements and promotions, firing and layoffs, and the types of job responsibilities assigned to an employee. Any time an employer is found to treat an employee or job applicant differently because of their gender, there may be a basis for accusations of gender discrimination in the workplace.
Pregnancy discrimination is one type of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also prohibits pregnancy discrimination. An employer may not make assumptions that a pregnant woman will not return to work, or seek promotions after having a child, or will only work part-time after childbirth. If a female employee is temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy or childbirth, they must be treated the same as other employees who also are temporarily unable to work for other reasons.
Any harsher treatment for pregnant women, such as restricting the ability to use sick leave or requiring only pregnant women to get doctor’s notes for absences, would violate the anti-discrimination law.
The Uber Investigation and Troubles
As part of its federal investigation, the EEOC is examining employee complaints about gender inequity at Uber. The investigation, which began in August 2017, has focused on the hiring practices, disparity in male and female employees’ pay, and other gender related matters. Both current and former employees have been interviewed by EEOC investigators.
If Uber, as a matter of course, paid its female employees less than male employees and discriminated against females during the hiring process, they would be in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC has not commented on the ongoing investigation.
Uber also faced allegations of workplace discrimination and harassment in 2017, which, along with allegations of illegal spying on rival ride sharing companies, resulted in the replacement of Uber’s co-founder and chief executive office. Uber has faced criticism of its hostile work culture with respect to women.
The new head of Uber has publicly promised to reform the company under his leadership. Some of the recent changes at Uber include new company rules related to salary and equity, a new performance review procedure, and the implementation of employee diversity training.
Uber has indicated that it intends to make an initial public offering of its stock next year.
Middletown Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Help Employees and Employers with Sexual Discrimination Cases
If you are an employer or employee involved in a sex discrimination matter, an experienced Middletown employment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. is ready to assist you. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.