Orange County Gender/Sex Discrimination Lawyer
Although it is the 21st century and California is one of the most progressive states in the nation, workplace sex and gender discrimination is still alarmingly common in many places of employment.
Generally, sex and gender discrimination occurs when job applicants or employees receive unequal treatment based on their sex, gender, perceived gender or sexual orientation. While this type of unequal treatment is illegal on a federal and state level, it regularly takes place in the form of unequal wages, working conditions, promotions, bonuses, job assignments and more.
An Orange County sex discrimination lawyer or gender discrimination lawyer could assist employees who suffer sex- or gender-based bias and ensure their rights are recognized. These legal professionals have years of experience representing victims of sex and gender discrimination and can fight for the justice they deserve.
Is There a Difference Between Sex Discrimination and Gender Discrimination?
Sex discrimination and gender discrimination are closely associated, but they have different definitions. An individual’s sex refers to the biological or anatomical sex someone is born with. However, gender is a collection of societal or cultural characteristics that are traditionally seen as being male or female, and some people may identify with a gender that is different from their sex.
For example, some people are born male but identify and present as female. Likewise, some people are born female but identify and present as male. In addition, some people are born male or female but identify and present as non-binary, meaning they don’t exclusively identify as either male or female. Federal and state laws protect workers who are born or identify as any sex or gender.
What Is Sex and Gender Discrimination?
Historically, women and openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have faced the brunt of workplace sex and gender discrimination over the decades. However, men are also frequent targets of sex- and gender-based workplace discrimination and need to be aware of their rights.
Workplace sex and gender bias can take many forms, but here are some common examples:
- Sexual harassment, such as comments of a sexual nature or unwanted sexual advances
- Refusing to interview or hire job applicants based on their sex or gender
- Unequal pay for the same job responsibilities based on sex or gender
- Unequal division of job duties based on sex or gender, such as having only male employees lift heavy objects and only female employees do administrative tasks
- Inappropriate interview questions based on sex or gender, including questions about marital status, pregnancy plans or sexual orientation
- Unequal promotion opportunities based on sex or gender
- Unequal access to job training based on sex or gender
- Gender-specific dress codes, such as those requiring women to wear dresses
- Intentionally and consistently using a name or pronoun that is different than the gender an employee identifies with, such as purposely referring to a transgender man as “she” or “her”
- Firing employees for becoming pregnant
- Firing employees after finding out they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
- Retaliating against employees who file sex or gender discrimination complaints
Who Can Sue Over Sex and Gender Discrimination?
All workers are protected from sex and gender discrimination by state and federal laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their sex. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, these sex-based protections also extend to LGBT employees. Meanwhile, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their sex, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or marital status.
Employees who feel they have suffered discrimination based on any of the above categories might benefit from speaking to a sex discrimination lawyer or gender discrimination lawyer as soon as possible. Legal counsel could carefully review the case and determine if it is necessary to file a lawsuit.
How Can Employers Prevent Sex and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?
As the #MeToo movement demonstrates, sex and gender discrimination is still rampant in workplaces across California. However, there are many things employers can do to help ensure their employees are protected from sex- and gender-based bias, including:
- Regularly updating anti-discrimination policies to reflect changing laws
- Providing regular anti-discrimination training to employees
- Providing separate anti-discrimination training for managers and supervisors
- Actively promoting women and LGBT individuals to management positions
- Taking all complaints seriously
- Fully documenting all complaints
How Can A Sex Discrimination Attorney Help?
Sex and gender discrimination laws are complex and subject to frequent changes. An Orange County sex discrimination attorney could evaluate an employee’s case and explain all legal options available. Possible remedies include filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
If the complaint is successful, victims of sex and gender discrimination might be owed compensation for:
- Back pay or front pay
- Lost benefits
- Lost promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
In addition to the above penalties, an employer might be required to post notices to all employees explaining specific sex or gender discrimination violations the company has committed. They may also be ordered to take corrective or preventative actions to reduce the risk of such violations occurring again.