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Gender Discrimination

There are various federal and state laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on gender, but the main law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, making any job-related decision based on someone’s gender is illegal. Examples of these decisions include wage determinations as well as who to hire, fire, lay off, demote, promote, or reassign to a new job.

Many cities, counties and states have their own gender discrimination laws that further protect their employees.

Equal Pay Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Besides Title VII, there are two other federal laws that protect you from gender discrimination. The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying women a different wage than other workers, while the Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant women from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Because both of these laws are at the federal level, a government agency known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing them.

To file a gender discrimination lawsuit against your employer, you must first file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate your allegations and either file a lawsuit against your employer on your behalf or give you permission to find an attorney and file a lawsuit on your own.

What About Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a common form of gender discrimination in the workplace that is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although it is commonly associated with women, both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment.

There are two types of sexual harassment including a hostile work environment and quid pro quo. A hostile work environment is created when the sexual harassment is so severe it begins to interfere with employees’ ability to do their jobs. Quid pro quo occurs when an authority figure states an employee must welcome his sexual advances if she wants to receive a job offer, promotion, or any other job-related benefit. This type of harassment only has to occur once for it to be illegal, however in order to prove a hostile work environment, you must be able to show the harassment occurred repeatedly over an extended period of time.


Victims should never fear coming forward and reporting gender discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers cannot retaliate against someone because of his or her involvement in a gender discrimination complaint. This means if you reported the discrimination to your employer or the EEOC, you are protected. Even if you are not the one being discriminated against and you were reporting it on behalf of someone else, you are still covered. If you are retaliated against, you can file an additional complaint with the EEOC.

Examples of Gender Discrimination

Possible examples of gender discrimination include:

  • Unequal pay
  • Failure to promote
  • All superiors are of the opposite sex
  • Sexist comments
  • Glass ceilings
  • Diminished responsibilities
  • Outdated views
  • Sexual harassment
  • Positional bias

The Justice You Deserve

If an employer treats you unfairly because of your gender or you have been subject to inappropriate sexual advances at work, you must fight back to defend your rights. Speak to a competent and experienced employment law attorney at Shegerian Conniff to seek justice against your employer.

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