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Gender and Sexual Discrimination

You may raise concerns about discrimination in the workplace without fear of retaliation. 

Making formal, good-faith complaints, about gender/sex discrimination in your workplace is protected activity.  If you have experienced retaliation after reporting gender discrimination, contact us immediately. 

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may not discriminate in hiring, promoting, firing, or any other aspect of employment based on an employee’s gender.  Gender under Title VII has grown to include sexual orientation, non-binary or transgender expression, as well as biological sex.  Gender discrimination also encompasses pregnancy, marital status, and parental status.  If you or someone you love is experiencing gender discrimination, call today for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer from our team. 

Biological sex is that which is assigned at birth.  Employers may not treat male, female or intersex employees differently from other employees based on their biological sex.  This can come in the form of stereotypes or common beliefs about how a male or female should act or behave.  Those stereotypes are outlawed under Title VII.  As Justice Brennan said in the Hopkins case, “we are beyond the day when an employer could evaluate employees by assuming or insisting that they matched the stereotype associated with their group…”.  Unfortunately, despite this pronouncement made in 1989, stereotype discrimination still persists to this day.  If you have experienced discrimination based on sex or some other characteristic, contact our firm for an evaluation. 

A common example of gender/sex discrimination is Sexual Harassment, find more on this topic here. 

Similar to marriage, an employee’s choices about parenthood are protected.  An employer cannot discriminate against employees with children or women who chose to become pregnant while employed.  In some instances, pregnancy discrimination can overlap with disability discrimination and FMLA interference or retaliation. Find information about disability discrimination here and FMLA here. 

In addition to Title VII, the Equal Pay of 1963 prohibits employers from paying employees of one sex more than members of the opposite sex.  Discrimination takes many forms, but one of the most common historically has been the male/female wage gap.  The U.S. Census Bureau determined that in 2019, full-time year-round working women eared 82% of what their male counterparts earned. Read the full report form Pew Research Center here and don’t hesitate to call us if you have concerns about wage discrimination based on gender. 

Unlike biological sex, gender as a social construct continues to evolve.  Courts have begun to acknowledge discrimination based on gender expression as a facet of gender/sex discrimination.  Some professional environments necessitate different approaches to gender expression or fluidity (including name and pronoun preferences) but employees should never experience discrimination or retaliation in the workplace based on their gender expression.  If you have questions about protected gender expression in the workplace, contact our firm. 

Employees have the right to be their authentic self in and out of the workplace without fear of discrimination in their employment.  Gender discrimination occurs when an employee receives different treatment based on their sexual orientation or an employer’s perception of their sexual orientation.  Employees have a right to choose what they want to share about their personal life and should not be outed by others at work without their consent.  If you believe your employer is treating you differently from other employees based on your actual sexual orientation or their perception of your sexual orientation, contact our firm.

Employers must not show preference to married or single employees based on their marital status.  Similarly, an employer cannot treat an employee differently simply because the employee becomes engaged or proceeds with a divorce.  If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your marital status, contact our firm. 

Image by Pawel Czerwinski

If you need assistance with your gender or sexual discrimination claims, contact Hennessy Law.