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What Is Gender Discrimination?

What Is Gender Discrimination?

If an employer takes a negative action against an employee because of their gender, that employee may be able to file a claim for gender discrimination.

What Is Gender Discrimination?

Both California law and federal law prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. While workplaces have evolved quite a bit since these laws were first enacted, there is still the strong potential for employees to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex or gender.  How do you know when you have a valid discrimination case?

As an initial note, it is important to know that while sex and gender are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.  Sex is typically used to refer to a person’s anatomy, while gender typically refers to the cultural characteristics that are often identified as either male or female.  In this post, we will use gender discrimination to refer to situations where  person is discriminated against for being a woman or a man.  Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a separate topic worthy of its own blog post.

Gender Discrimination Law

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 both prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex or gender.  This type of discrimination involves a person being treated unfairly at work on the basis of their gender.  It is often discussed in context of women being discriminated against at work, but it can also be directed towards male employees.

Gender discrimination is any type of unfavorable treatment that is based on a person’s sex or gender.  It could be anything from refusing to hire a person because of their sex to paying employees unequally based on their gender to giving unequal benefits to male and female employees.  If the negative treatment of an employee or group of employees is based on gender, then it likely violates anti-discrimination laws.

A gender discrimination claim can arise before you are even hired if a company discriminates against men or women in its hiring practices.  For example, a restaurant chain that only hired female servers may be liable for discrimination against male applicants.  It can also occur after a person has been hired, such as if a company refuses to promote a female employee because she is a woman or if female employees are classified in a different way from male employees so that they are not entitled to the same benefits or pay.

Gender discrimination can take many forms.  If a company refuses to hire a person because they believe that women (or men) cannot perform a particular job, that could be a basis for a lawsuit. If a business hires less-qualified men over more-qualified women, they may be discriminating against female applicants. If employees are treated unequally in terms of discipline, warnings or promotions based on their gender, that also may be gender discrimination.  If you believe that your employer — or a potential employer — has discriminated against you because of your gender, contact a skilled discrimination attorney as soon as possible to review the facts of your case.

Proving a Gender Discrimination Claim

Winning a gender discrimination case can be challenging if an employer is careful to never put anything in writing or do anything explicit that reveals a bias against men or women.  Nonetheless, even if there is not direct evidence of discrimination, there are many factors that can be used to show gender discrimination.

One of the strongest pieces of evidence that can be used to show gender discrimination is a pattern of excluding people of a particular gender from positions that they are qualified for, or refusing to hire people of a certain gender. For example, if a company never hires a woman for a sales position, despite many qualified women applying, that could be an example of gender discrimination.  Similarly, if a company will not hire male employees for traditionally “female” positions, such as a receptionist, secretary or child care worker, that could be a form of discrimination.

Beyond patterns, certain actions taken by an employer can show that they have discrimination against employees on the basis of gender.  This could include issuing warnings about sales numbers to female employees while not issuing warnings to male employees with similar sales numbers.  It may also be shown by an employer asking candidates for a job questions about whether a person is married or intends to have children.

A skilled discrimination attorney can review your case to determine if you have a viable claim against your employer for gender discrimination.  Remedies may include receiving compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, attorney’s fees and even punitive damages.  You may also be able to be reinstated at your job or receive a promotion.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your gender, contact PLBSH today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com.  Our attorneys are highly seasoned employment discrimination lawyers who will fight to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

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