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Marilyn Monroe is arguably one of the most iconic figures in American culture, but what does she have to do with employment law, you may ask. In a 1953 classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe performed one of her signature numbers, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Although she didn’t know it at the time, some of the lyrics are apropos to a situation currently happening with the nation’s largest retail jewelry chain, Sterling Jewelers. Sterling, the parent company for twelve jewelry chains including Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelers, is facing a possible class arbitration.
The lyrics referred to constitute Monroe’s advice to female employees and their “hard boiled” employers. She cautions, “get that ice, or else, no dice.” One would think that the Mad Men style married womanizing boss and helpless subordinate female employee are just clichés from a bygone time, but the claims included in the Sterling arbitration complaint highlight just how incorrect that notion is.
The female employees have alleged incidents dating back to 2003 and include: widespread pay discrepancies where entire stores were set up so that male sales associates received higher pay and more opportunity for promotions. One of the former female employees noted that when she received complaints about a male employee sexually harassing a female employee, she wrote an incident report and gave it to her male supervisor. Eventually, the complaint and reports were watered down and the male employee accused of sexual harassment was then promoted two weeks later. Another employee recalls meetings between the chief executive and subordinate female employees that took place in a swimming pool with the participants in “various states of undress.” Finally, an employee recounted an alleged rape that occurred during an annual conference. Incredulously, a former female Sterling employee and witness to the rape was forced to appear at corporate headquarters 200 miles away, grilled about her sex life, and eventually terminated.
The type of behavior alleged pretty clearly violates state and federal laws designed to protect employees from discrimination and retaliation pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(I). Although these are extreme examples of what an employer should never do, it should be mentioned that if you are experiencing less radical behavior at your place of employment you should consult an attorney immediately.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do …”, “I’m being sexually harassed …” “my supervisor grabbed my…”, “my boss is touching…,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I …”, your best course is to contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.