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Some Tennessee women who work in STEM careers may have experienced on-the-job discrimination. A study by Pew Research Group found that half of women nationwide working in STEM jobs reported discrimination compared to 41 percent of women who were in other occupations. The study also found that women who had a postgraduate degree, worked with computers or worked in environments that were mostly male-dominated also were more likely to encounter discrimination.

An equal number of women in and out of STEM reported harassment at work at 22 percent. However, women in STEM were more likely to consider harassment a problem compared to men at 36 percent to 28 percent. The study also found that nearly two-thirds of black STEM workers reported discrimination compared to 44 percent of Asian workers and 42 percent of Hispanic workers. Fewer than 40 percent of black workers said they were treated fairly at work.

The study surveyed 2,344 STEM workers among a total of 4,914 adults. Since STEM is both a fast-growing and high-paying field, these conditions in the workplace can lead to fewer opportunities for women and minorities to make more money.

Discrimination could extend beyond pay disparities. An employee who is not paid for overtime or other work because of discrimination, misclassification or for any other reason might want to talk to an attorney. While it is possible to begin by addressing these types of issues with pay through workplace channels, consulting an attorney can help workers understand their rights before they speak to an employer about wage and hour laws. If the employer does not address the employee’s concerns or retaliates against the employee, the employee might want to file a lawsuit against the employer.