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Marines Wrestle Over Co-Ed Ground-Combat Units

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A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article reports that Marine Corps commanders will likely oppose a Defense Department order to allow women to join ground-combat units. In support of its position, and without officially challenging the order just yet, the Marine Corps released data showing that all-male combat units outperformed co-ed units by almost 70% in combat tasks. This discrepancy was particularly apparent in tasks requiring the carrying of heavy ammunition or weapons. The results, according to the Corps, backs the notion that mixed-gender units are less capable and are more likely to suffer casualties than their all-male counterparts.

If you or someone you know believes they have been discriminated against in the workforce because of gender, contact competent New York employment attorneys right away to learn about your rights under federal and state law. You can also speak to a support agent online.

Social Change in the Military

The discussion over the role of women in military combat follows decades-long fights over social change within the military. This began in the 40s with racial integration and more than 70 years later, with the lifting of the ban on open service by gay men and lesbians. In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the military’s official ban on women in combat. This decision overturned a 1994 Pentagon rule restricting women from certain military positions including infantry, artillery, armor and other combat roles even though female soldiers had frequently found themselves in combat on the ground.

There are approximately 220,000 positions within the active-duty military that are not open to women, according to the WSJ. Within the Corps’ 337 job categories, 22 are unavailable to female applicants.  These include light-armored reconnaissance, tanks and infantry. Since Secretary Panetta’s 2013 order was issued, the Pentagon has opened over 100,000 jobs to women.

Gender Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any discrimination in the workplace based on gender. This applies to several terms of employment including hiring, firing, pay rate, job assignments, layoffs, promotions, fringe benefits, and training. Discrimination of others based on gender is a common civil rights violation that can occur in many forms, such as pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay for the same work. Gender-based discrimination may also occur when someone receives negative treatment simply because of his or her affiliation with an organization or group generally linked with a particular sex.

In addition to Title VII, other laws protect individuals from gender-based workplace discrimination. These include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which falls under Title VII and bans employers from discriminating against women due to pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical conditions; and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and prohibits pay discrimination because of an employee’s gender.

New York Employment Attorneys

The legal professionals at White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C. have more than two decades of combined experience handling employment law matters. Our New York employment attorneys are dedicated to protecting your livelihood. Call (800) 240-9269 today to schedule your initial case evaluation.

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