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Bethesda-based company faces gender discrimination suit

While women have made great strides in the workforce in recent decades, there are still many workplaces that proliferate gender discrimination. It may not be as obvious as it was back before the Equal Pay Act of1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 required employers to treat women and men equally, but today's working women still do not need to look far to find a glass ceiling, a wage discrepancy or a sexually hostile workplace.

A gender discrimination case that was filed against Bethesda, Maryland, based Lockheed Martin Corp. will soon be heard here in Greenbelt. The lawsuit includes allegations that the company failed to pay female workers as much as their male counterparts and promoted women at a much slower rate than men.

Several female employees of the company in other states have filed similar complaints and Lockheed has already reached financial settlements with at least three of them.

In addition to the company's alleged failure to provide women with equal pay for equal work, the lawsuits accuse the company of strategically placing high-ranking female employees in traditionally gender specific roles. For example, high-level female employees are typically placed in human resources, ethics and communications positions at Lockheed, according to the lawsuit.

A news column about the suit that was published in the Washington Business Journal points out that Lockheed does have women in several key leadership positions, including the chief operating officer who will actually take over as CEO next month.

While that may be refreshing to hear, having women in leadership positions is not, in and of itself, evidence that women in the company are not being discriminated against. Many women are up against very real discrimination barriers in the workplace and it is important to acknowledge this so that things can change.

Source: Washington Business Journal, "Gender discrimination case against Lockheed transferred to Maryland," Jill R. Aitoro, Dec.12, 2012

  • More information about women's employment rights and gender discrimination is available on our Metro Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia law firm's Glass Ceiling page.

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