Ways Your Employer Could Be Discriminating Against You Based On Your Gender
Although it has been illegal to discriminate against a person based on their sex or gender for decades, this continues to be a big problem for employees. Sex or gender discrimination occurs when people are treated differently in their jobs because they are a woman or man. While technically sex and gender mean different things, they are used interchangeably when discussing discrimination, and both types of discrimination are illegal.
What Laws Prohibit Sex and Gender Discrimination?
It is a violation of both federal and California law for an employer to discriminate against you based on your gender and sex. The two major laws that would apply are:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law—which has been the law for over 50 years—prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee in terms of their compensation or conditions of employment on the basis of a person’s sex or pregnancy. This law applies to employers who have 15 or more employees.
- California law. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal to discriminate against a person based on her gender or perceived gender. The law applies to employers employing five or more employees, except if the discrimination is sexual harassment, which applies to any employer with no employee minimum. The FEHA offers other more generous protections and remedies to employees than Title VII, such as no cap on pain and suffering damages.
Ways Your Employer Could Discriminate Against You
It is against the law for your employer to discriminate against you in any aspect of your employment. Common forms of discrimination you should watch for include:
- Your employer pays you less than a man performing the identical job.
- An employer fails to hire you for a job you are qualified for and instead hires a less qualified male applicant.
- Your employer gives you good reviews, but does not promote you even though you are more qualified than the person of the opposite sex being promoted.
- Your employer treats you and other coworkers of the same sex more strictly than employees of the opposite sex.
- Your employer provides you with different benefits than men. For example, it would be illegal to provide health care benefits to family members of a male employee but not to provide the same benefits to a woman employee.
- A prospective employer asks you questions in an interview that he would not ask a man. For example, if the interviewer asks a woman about how many children she has or her plans to have children, this would be discriminatory since these questions would not be asked in an interview with a male applicant.
- You are terminated from your job when an employee of the opposite sex who did the exact same thing that got you fired is not.
- You do an exemplary job and are denied a bonus or other perk of your employment that a man with the same or worse job performance receives.
- Your employer treats you differently in some other fashion that is different that employees of the opposite sex.
- Your employer has a policy that has the effect of discriminating against you. For example, if your employer has a requirement that employees be able to lift items of a certain weight for a job without any real lifting, the policy could be discriminatory if it excludes women from applying for the job.
What Is the Difference Between Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination?
Although Title VII does not specifically state that sexual harassment is prohibited, courts have determined that sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination. The person engaging in the discriminatory behaviors could be a supervisor or co-worker and can be of the same sex as the victim. This type of discrimination can take many forms, such as:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Other conduct of a sexual nature
- Comments about a person’s body or sexual activities
- Sexual jokes
- Requests for sexual favors
- Pressure to date the person
- Unwanted touching
- Gestures that are sexually offensive
- Posters or pictures which degrade women
- Sexual assault
Protect Your Legal Rights If You Suspect You Are a Victim of Gender Discrimination
If you suspect you are the victim of gender discrimination, you could be losing thousands of dollars in wages, benefits, and bonuses as well as being denied deserved promotions that could be beneficial to your career advancement. Under federal and California law, you may be entitled to compensation that includes your back pay, future pay, pain and suffering, and attorney fees. You could also obtain injunctive relief to make your employer stop its discriminatory practices—important for you and co-workers who may also be discriminated against.
Your first step should be to contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney in Irvine as soon as possible who understands the complicated anti-discrimination laws and can help you to not miss the many deadlines under Title VII and FEHA. Start an online chat today to schedule a free consultation.