Glass Ceiling Law and Legal Definition

Glass ceilings are the artificial barriers that deny women and minorities the opportunity to advance within their careers. It is a higher management and executive level in a company to which the females, African Americans, Latinos, etc., can't rise. Glass ceiling cases are primarily proven by statistics. If all women cannot rise above the position of supervisor, then all women are being discriminated against in promotion and hiring. Therefore, any glass ceiling case is a potential class action case.

The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission has identified the following as barriers to advancement for women and minorities:

  • Societal barriers, which include a supply barrier related to educational opportunities and the level of job attainment.
  • There is also a "difference" barrier manifested through conscious and unconscious stereotyping and bias. It translates into a syndrome that people who do the hiring feel most comfortable "hiring people who look like them." Stereotypes must be confronted with hard data because, if left unrefuted, they become factual in the popular mind and reinforce glass ceiling barriers.
  • Governmental barriers include the collection and disaggregation of employment related data which make it difficult to ascertain the status of various groups at the managerial level. Also, there continues to be inadequate reporting and dissemination of information relevant to glass ceiling issues. Most important, there needs to be vigorous and consistent monitoring and enforcement of laws and policies already on the books.