What is sex discrimination and/or gender discrimination?
Sex or gender discrimination, unfortunately, is not a thing of the past. It is still all too common in the workplace. You probably have a basic sense of what sex discrimination involves, but your protections against this type of discrimination are broader than you might think.
The BasicsSimply put, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to:
- Not hire or to terminate anyone, or to otherwise discriminate against someone regarding pay, job requirements, or any workplace perks or benefits, based on the individual’s sex. (This Act expanded the parameters of the Equal Pay Act, signed into law in 1963.)
- Limit the possibilities of an employee’s ability to retain a job or receive raises or promotions based on their sex.
The Broader PictureHere are some of the fine points of workplace sex discrimination that you may not know. You have the right not to be mistreated:
- For your involvement in an association primarily constituted of, or protecting the interests of, a certain sex (such as the National Organization for Women).
- When you are a job applicant.
- With general comments about your gender that do NOT have to be sexual in nature….
- …by any coworker or supervisor, regardless if they are the same sex as you.
- …by anyone you interact with at work, including customers.
- Via a general policy that applies to all sexes but is unfairly divisive based on gender (such as uniforms that are unfairly, unevenly revealing to men or women).
- Via postings or advertisements containing sexual stereotypes.
Anti-Retaliation LawThe wrongdoer in a sexual discrimination case has the right:
- To remedy the situation prior to a lawsuit or involvement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- To retaliate against you, such as demoting you or terminating your position, for moving forward with a sexual harassment case.
- To retaliate against you for any involvement in whistleblowing – notifying governmental authorities of discriminatory practices – or in the sexual harassment case of another employee.