Sex Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers of more than 15 employees from discriminating against applicants and employees because of sex with regard to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.

Common Examples of Sex Discrimination Include:

  • Unequal pay:  Differing incomes for men and women, even when their jobs require comparable job skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions.
  • Differing job responsibilities:  Men and women assigned to job duties that reflect a historical bias, such as men lifting objects and woman performing clerical tasks.
  • Job Interviews:  Asking different interview questions based on an applicant’s sex. For example, asking a woman if she has child or if caring for her child will interfere with performing the duties of the job.
  • Promotional Opportunities:  Allowing an individual’s sex or gender to play a role in whether an individual is promoted.
  • Interviewing for Jobs:  Allowing an individual’s sex or gender to play a role in whether an individual is hired.
  • Gender-Based Dress Codes:  Requiring women to wear dresses and skirts when there is no legitimate business reason for doing so.


What Is the Difference Between Sex and Gender Discrimination?

Sex and gender discrimination sound the same but they are different. An individual’s sex is genetically based.  However, an individual’s gender refers to the sex he or she most closely identifies with.  One employee may be denied a promotion because she is female.  This is sex discrimination. Another employee may be denied a promotion because he does not identify with the gender assigned to him at birth.  This is gender discrimination. Both scenarios are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

With regard to job candidates, employers often fail to recognize the most relevant question: Can this individual do the job?  Regardless of how elaborate an employee handbook may be, the real policy of an employer is seen through the actions it takes when administering the terms and conditions employment.

Some women continue to experience glass ceilings when aspiring to move up the ladder.  They also experience glass walls when they express an interest in making lateral career moves into occupations that have been historically held by men.

Sex and gender discrimination is an increasing area of concern as the number of women and openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals enter the workforce. Various laws require that all employees are to be given equal access to and protections in the workplace.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) is a federal law aimed at abolishing the discriminatory wage gap between men and women. With some exceptions, this law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex.  Under this law, employers are not permitted to pay lower wages to the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.  All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, allowances, travel reimbursement and benefits.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex with regard to pay and benefits. Therefore, someone who has an EPA claim may also have a claim under Title VII.

If you have been subjected to discrimination because of your sex or gender orientation, contact Rich Daugherty today.  He is experienced in representing clients who have been victims of this discrimination in the workplace and will fight to protect your rights.

You can arrange for an initial phone conference with Rich at no charge.  He represents clients throughout North Carolina and is available to meet with prospective clients outside of Chapel Hill when circumstances permit.  Evening appointments are also available.

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