Sex discrimination and sexual harassment have become common place within the workplace. The number of reported sex discrimination cases is rapidly increasing as employee become more aware of their rights. The purpose of this blog is to provide women with some background as to what constitutes sec discrimination in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination?
There are two main forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment that can be brought as a cause of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The most common and most well-known type of sexual harassment is Quid pro quo sexual harassment, which is when an employer makes an employee engage in sexual intercourse or any other unwelcome sexual advances as a condition of employment. An example of this is when an employer refuses to provide a raise or a promotion to an employee unless he or she consents to sexual acts.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is a violation of both federal and California law. Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment, as well as two co-workers of the same sex.
Hostile workplace sexual harassment was a new legal claim that was created to encompass all other types of sexual harassment that went beyond placing conditions on employment and that involved unwelcome sexual advances that were so severe and pervasive, it would prevent a reasonable person from properly fulfilling their job duties.
An employer is liable for this type of harassment, when an employee puts her employer on notice or complains about the harassment, but they fail to address it or put an end to it. An employee does not need to complain about the sexual harassment, in order for an employer to be liable, if the employee can show that the employer should have known about the harassment.
An employer is also liable for the actions of its supervisors, managers, or co-workers that commit sexual harassment against an employee. Also, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee for internally complaining about sexual harassment or for taking legal action for sexual harassment.
Under the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII, not only are employees protected against retaliatory action once they file a complaint or charge of sex discrimination, but they are also protected if they are involved in discrimination court procedures or hearings.
Can Unequal Pay be a Form of Sex Discrimination?
Under both federal and state law, discrepancies in equal pay can be a form of sex discrimination. For example, if a female worker and male worker have identical qualifications, and the male is being paid more, the female worker may have a valid sex discrimination claim under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. Furthermore, most states have similar laws that protect females from this form of discrimination.
Sex Discrimination in Leave Time
In terms of Federal Law, there are two different legislative decisions that discuss the regulations regarding leave rights in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act guarantees that all employees have the same access to leave regardless of the age, sex, nationality, disability, race or religion of that employee. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a guideline regarding employee rights and employer restrictions that are associated with leave.
According to the FMLA, every employee has the right to a specific number of days of leave based on the reason that absence is requires. The FMLA provides for a maximum of 12 weeks of absence. Certain examples for taking leave include caring for a newborn child or a seriously ill family member. The FMLA also provides that every employee has equal access to leave and that leave regulations will be applied in the same for all workers. It is illegal under federal and state law for an employer to provide more leave to a male employee as a opposed a female employee.
If you feel as though there are discrepancies in the way woman are treated in your workplace, then you may have a legal claim against your employer. The laws governing leave are complex. There are strict regulations governing the process for filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice. Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.