Last week, our employment discrimination attorneys blogged about a gender discrimination case brought by a female employee that was discriminated because the employer perceived her to not fit its typical gender stereotype. Specifically, in that case, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a gender discrimination case could be brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against an employer for discriminating against a female employee that was perceived to be a tomboy. But, does this gender discrimination law apply with regard to discrimination against men based on male stereotypes? The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently answered that question in a gender discrimination lawsuit brought against Boh Brothers Construction Company, L.L.C. In the gender stereotyping case brought against Boh Brothers, Chuck
Wolfe, the superintendent of an all-male crew on a construction, “subjected Kerry Woods, an iron worker on Wolfe’s crew, to almost-daily verbal and physical harassment because Woods did not conform to Wolfe’s view of how a man should act.” Because Woods did not fit the hard core manly man stereotype, Wolfe called Woods “pussy,” “princess,” and “faggot,” often “two to three times a day.” Additionally, about two to three times every week, Wolfe approached Woods from behind after Woods was bent over and simulated anal intercourse with him.
Critically, neither the Woods nor Wolfe is gay. Boh Brothers did not dispute the events, but painted it as run of the mill locker room bullying.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that: “More than two decades ago, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff may rely on gender-stereotyping evidence to show that discrimination occurred ‘because of . . . sex’ in accordance with Title VII. … Thus, while ‘[r]emarks at work that are based on sex stereotypes do not inevitably prove that gender played a part in a particular employment decision,’ they ‘can certainly be evidence that gender played a part.’” The Court then concluded: “Applying these principles here, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the verdict, there is enough evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that Wolfe harassed Woods because of sex. Specifically, the [plaintiff] offered evidence that Wolfe, the crew superintendent, thought that Woods was not a manly-enough man and taunted him tirelessly. Wolfe called Woods sex-based epithets … Wolfe himself admitted that these epithets were directed at Woods’s masculinity.”
As such, gender discrimination claim are valid for men based on same-sex gender stereotyping.
If you feel that you are being harassed based on your gender or sex stereotype, then call the right attorney. It is never appropriate to discriminate against or harrass employees based on gender conceptions. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from the Spitz law firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims.
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