Abramson Labor Group – Gender Discrimination
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy prior to his assassination. One goal of the bill was to offer citizens protections against discrimination in public establishments, but it’s titles added additional levels of protection. With Title VII, it became illegal to let gender, race, religion, or country of origin influence any decision related to a place of employment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to let a person’s gender dictate many employment decisions, including:
- Who is fired or laid off
- Who a company hires
- Who qualifies for training, recruitment, or apprenticeships
- Who gets to use certain facilities within a business
- Who gets a promotion or transfer to another department or office
- What people get paid or receive as benefits, including fringe benefits
- Who qualifies for disability leave
Companies cannot place employment ads stating “men only” or “women only.” They also cannot require that one gender takes a specific employment test as part of the interview process if the other gender isn’t also required to take that test. If they do, they’re in violation of Title VII.
In addition to Title VII, some states, counties, and cities/towns have gender discrimination laws in place that can add to the protections employees gain. A person may not realize that they were discriminated against if they’re not fully aware of local and state laws.
Sexual Harassment Laws Also Apply to Gender Discrimination
Title VII also protects against sexual harassment. While this form of gender discrimination is experienced more often with women, men can also be victims. There are two key types of sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment occurs when a person is told if they do not agree to a boss’s or authority figure’s sexual advances, they won’t get a promotion, raise, or another employment benefit. A person cannot be threatened with the loss of a job if they don’t sleep or date another employee or supervisor. If this type of harassment happens once, it’s illegal.
Hostile Work Environment harassment is a form of sexual harassment where someone’s sexual behavior or comments interfere with one’s ability to work. It could be another employee, supervisor, or even client making sexual comments that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at work. It could be another’s old-fashioned views that make you feel uncomfortable. If this is the sexual harassment you face, you do need to be able to prove it happened multiple times over a period of time.
Other Federal Laws That Help Protect Against Gender Discrimination
Going hand-in-hand with Title VII’s gender discrimination laws are two other laws that help women gain protections against other things that discrimination laws may have missed.
The first was the Equal Pay Act. This act made it illegal for employers to pay an employee less based on gender. If a woman was doing the same work as a man, she had to be given equal pay. The only exceptions to this act were seniority, merit, production rates, or differentials not based on gender (such as a shift differential).
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was the second law that helped women in particular. This law made it illegal to harass or discriminate against a pregnant woman in the workplace. Employers couldn’t arbitrarily refuse to hire a woman simply because she was pregnant, just as they couldn’t decide that a pregnant woman should be the first to be laid off since she’d be having a baby anyway.
These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Before filing a lawsuit regarding gender discrimination, you have to file a discrimination claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will handle the investigation and proceed with a lawsuit or allow you to seek an attorney in order to file a gender discrimination lawsuit.
If you do file a complaint with the EEOC and deal with retaliation, that’s also illegal. If you reported the discrimination to your boss after seeing/hearing it happen to someone else and you’re facing retaliation, that same law protects you. You must talk to your representative at the EEOC or your lawyer as soon as possible to file a new complaint.
One thing you should not do is stay silent. You have rights. Title VII protects you from gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. If you are dealing with unwanted sexual advances or comments, discrimination based on your gender, or any other workplace issue that’s related to your gender, you must speak up. The attorneys at Abramson Labor Group specialize in employment law. We can help you understand the laws as they apply to your situation and help you file the lawsuit against your employer.