Lawrence N. Lavigne, Esq., L.L.C.
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Discrimination and harassment in the tech field

New Jersey women who work in the tech industry may have faced discrimination and sexual harassment. Throughout the industry, women report patterns of this type of behavior, and statistics show that few women or African-American employees hold high-level positions at major companies. For example, there are no African-American employees in leadership positions at Twitter or Pinterest, and at Facebook, Apple and Yahoo, the numbers are 3 percent or lower. Nonwhite women report that when they do try to recruit other women of color, they are penalized for doing so.

Some women report a culture in which men socialize together in a way that cuts women off from opportunities such as bonuses or working on special projects. Others say that when they reported sexual harassment at work, they were told to handle it themselves and that any mention of the topic appeared to alienate recruiters.

One woman who has created an organization dedicated to supporting women in tech reports that there is a myth that there simply are not enough qualified women. A Pew Research Center survey found that women had to do more than men to prove their competence. Women also reported workplaces where people tend to hire others like them, and this cuts down on diversity.

The first steps people might want to take in response to workplace discrimination or harassment might be to learn their rights. They may want to consult an attorney to find out what an employer's obligations are. An attorney might suggest that they begin documenting incidents of harassment or discrimination, and they may want to speak to human resources or a supervisor about resolving the situation. However, if the company is not responsive, the next step may be to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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