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Gender discrimination is any action taken by an employer that unfairly denies opportunities, privileges, or rewards to an employee based solely on their sex. Although most gender discrimination is directed toward women, men can be victims as well. Federal law under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the California Constitution prohibit gender discrimination in any term, condition, or privilege of employment. This includes employment practices such as hiring, compensation, benefits, training, promotion, discipline, and firing. Even if gender discrimination is unintentional, an employer might be liable if an employer’s policies or practices cause a disparate impact on men and women employees in the workplace.
Types of Gender Discrimination
Gender discrimination can take many forms. Some examples include the following:
- Wage Discrimination occurs when an employer pays an employee of one sex less than an employee of the other sex for the same work.
- Pregnancy Discrimination includes any adverse action by an employer against a female employee because of her pregnancy. An employer must provide a pregnant employee with reasonable work accommodations as well as the right to maternity leave. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against breastfeeding mothers.
- Sexual Harassment can involve several types of behavior. It occurs when an employer offers any type of employment benefit in exchange for sexual favors. It also includes unwanted sexual advances or physical contact, making sexual gestures or comments, displaying offensive material, or hostile treatment of female workers because of their gender. Such conduct becomes illegal when it is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with the employee’s ability to do his or her work. Men as well as women can be victims of sexual harassment.
- Gender Identity or Stereotyping occurs when any adverse employment action is taken because an employer thinks that the employee is not “acting like” their gender or does not conform to a “gender norm.” For example, it is illegal to fire a woman because she is a tom-boy or a man because he acts too effeminate. A federal court has ruled that transgender employees are also protected from this type of discrimination under Title IV. Transgender employees may be protected by California law as well.
Types of Recovery for Gender Discrimination
Employees who are subject to unlawful gender discrimination may be able to recover the following types of damages:
- past lost wages and benefits
- future lost wages and benefits
- damages for emotional distress, pain, and suffering
- punitive damages
- attorney’s fees
California Gender Discrimination Attorneys
If you think you have been the victim of gender discrimination, been denied employment opportunities, or been treated unfairly by your employer as a result of your gender, you should contact an experienced gender discrimination attorney who can evaluate your claim and advise you of your rights. It is important to seek an attorney with expertise and an excellent reputation. The Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto and Angela Alioto P.L.C. is distinguished by its expertise and national recognition in Civil Rights and Employment Law. Our law firm is extremely experienced in the laws of gender discrimination and sexual harassment and has helped victims recover substantial damage awards for their injuries.