Gender discrimination in workers’ compensation benefits
Pennsylvania women should know that discrimination against women workers also extends to workers’ compensation. An example of this is demonstrated in a California class-action lawsuit that alleges reduced workers’ compensation benefits are paid out to women due to their gender. The women in the lawsuit want to rid the workers’ compensation system of all gender discrimination. They are requesting that gender no longer be a determining factor when deciding on benefit amounts and that gender bias training programs are available.
A victory for the women in the California lawsuit could positively affect other injured women who did not participate in the lawsuit. The state of California estimates that each year 11,000 women are paid reduced amounts of workers’ compensation because of their gender.
According to a legal representative of the women in the lawsuit, the lower payment of workers’ compensation to women is a systemic issue that begins with the male medical evaluators who are responsible for recommending a benefit amount . The amounts that are suggested are usually less than what would be suggested for a man who has sustained the identical injury. The reason provided the underpayment is that women are more prone to certain injuries.
Many women are not told that their gender is why they are receiving a reduced award. It is difficult for women to obtain information about workers’ compensation discrimination not only because states fail to mention gender, but also because of the reluctance of recipients to speak out.
Gender discrimination is prevalent across all facets of employment, including workers’ compensation. If an injury has been sustained on the job and the worker’s compensation award is less than what it should be because of gender discrimination, it might be advisable to seek out the advice of an attorney.