Sex Discrimination Lawyer
Locate a Local Employment Lawyer
What is "Sex Discrimination"?
Under federal, state, and city-based laws, an employer cannot discriminate against a worker due to his or her sex or gender. If your employer engages in discrimination or harassment, you may be entitled to compensation and damages. But before you file a complaint, it is important to understand how sex discrimination laws are applied.
What Is Sex Discrimination?
Sex discrimination occurs when a company makes an adverse employment action based on a worker’s sex or gender. Adverse employment actions may include:
- Hiring or promoting a less qualified male applicant over a female candidate;
- Paying a woman less than a man who has a similar job and seniority;
- Creating a work environment that is hostile to men or women;
- Pressuring a woman to trade sexual favors for career advancement; or
- Penalizing a worker because of family planning decisions.
If you have been a victim of sex discrimination, you may have multiple remedies. You may be able to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate your claim—and may file a lawsuit on your behalf. (Some laws require an EEOC investigation before you can file a lawsuit). You may also have claims or lawsuits under state and municipal laws.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment involves offensive behavior and mistreatment based upon a worker’s sex or gender. While most victims of sexual harassment are women, men may also be subject to harassment. Typically, sexual harassment is divided into two forms:
If you believe you are the victim of sexual harassment, document the conduct and report it to human resources. If the harassment continues, you may have a claim against the company with either the EEOC, an anti-discrimination agency, or in court.
What Is Equal Pay?
Statistically, American women earn $0.79 to every dollar earned by a man. African American and Hispanic women earn a respective $0.64 and $0.59. Currently, there are a series of federal laws that protect wage equality. These include:
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963: Requiring equal pay for work involving equal skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions; and
- The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Eases filing deadlines for equal pay claims.
Importantly, the Equal Pay Act does not just cover hourly or salaried pay rates. Fringe benefits, such as bonuses, company cars, expense accounts, and insurance premiums must also be equal. However, differences in compensation may be based on seniority and other neutral factors.
Unlike other discrimination claims, you do not have to file an EEOC complaint before filing an Equal Pay Act lawsuit. Instead, you may choose between the EEOC complaint process and a direct lawsuit against the company. (The same statute of limitations applies to both EEOC claims and equal pay lawsuits.) If you need help deciding which option is best for you, consider contacting a discrimination or employment lawyer.
State and municipal laws provide additional requirements for equal pay. Massachusetts recently passed what many see as the strongest wage equality law in the United States. These laws vary from community to community—make sure that you understand the laws that apply to your claim.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Today, 57% of American women are in the workforce. Because of this, pregnancy discrimination complaints are growing in the United States. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and other federal laws prohibit employment discrimination based on pregnancy. This may include:
- Refusing to hire or promote a pregnant woman,
- Refusing to hire or promote a woman because of her desire to have children,
- Terminating a woman due to pregnancy or family planning decisions,
- Reducing hours or compensation due to pregnancy,
- Harassment related to pregnancy or family planning, or
- Any other adverse employment actions related to pregnancy and family planning.
State and municipal laws may also provide additional protections to pregnant women and working mothers.
There are other legal protections for pregnant and working mothers. For example:
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers intermittent time-off due to pregnancy-related illnesses and maternity (such as morning sickness),
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions (like gestational diabetes).
- The Affordable Care Act requires reasonable break time and a place for nursing mothers to express milk or pump.
Make sure you understand your rights as a working mother. If you are concerned about pregnancy discrimination, contact the EEOC, a state anti-discrimination agency, or an employment lawyer.
Can a Lawyer Help With a Sex Discrimination Claim?
Sex discrimination claims may involve administrative complaints, lawsuits, and an extensive investigation. Many workers hire a lawyer to help with this process. An employment lawyer can help you file the correct paperwork, compile your evidence, and insure that you meet all the necessary filing deadlines. He or she can also speak on your behalf at court and may be able to negotiate a settlement.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 09-29-2016 12:51 PM PDT
Link to this page