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Gender Discrimination

Fighting All Forms Of Gender Discrimination

Although we as a society have made significant strides toward gender equality in the workplace, it would be ignorant to believe that gender discrimination has been eradicated. Studies show that women still earn significantly less than their male counterparts and that women are less likely to be hired, especially in certain fields of work. Unfortunately, the glass ceiling is still there and women face bosses, managers and supervisors who discriminate and sexually harass them on a daily basis. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, our lawyers deal with gender discrimination every day throughout greater Ohio.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Ohio’s Fair Employment Practice Laws (Ohio R.C. § 4112.01et seq.) make gender discrimination unlawful. These are the same set of anti-discrimination laws that prohibit race/color, religion and national origin discrimination. Under these employment discrimination laws, employers are precluded from making any employment decisions based on an employee’s or applicant’s gender. To that end, employers are not permitted to make decisions to hire, fire, promote, assign jobs, nor award benefits to an individual based on that person’s gender, or stated more simply, because the worker is a woman.

Removing Harmful Stereotypes And Biases

Oftentimes, some employers wrongly make employment decisions based on their belief that women should have certain roles in the workforce and society in general. Some employers make illegal hiring decisions based on their wrongly held belief that women, despite being qualified and capable, should not be assigned so-called manly or physical jobs. Some employers demonstrate their discriminatory tendencies by making only the female workers do what they deem “woman” tasks – such as adding the responsibilities of making coffee, doing dishes or vacuuming the office before close. Adding such gender bias tasks to female employees likely results in reduced performance than male counterparts who are not given such added tasks.

Another example of employers wrongly making decisions based on gender-based biases is the unfortunately common decision not to hire women with preschool-age children based on the belief that mothers with young children should be working outside the home or that their child care responsibilities will interfere with work. If men with preschool-age children were still eligible to be hired, this is illegal gender discrimination – even if most of the employees were women.

Likewise, employers cannot justify gender discrimination by stating things like, “there has always been a man in this position,” or “our customers like dealing with men in this role.” Companies cannot add job requirements that are not essential functions of the job just to weed out women, such as requiring a firefighter or factory worker to be able to carry 100 pounds.

If you are a working woman, and you find yourself thinking some of the following thoughts, you may have a gender discrimination claim and should contact an employment law attorney right away:

  • I was not hired because I’m a woman.
  • My company promoted a less-qualified man over me.
  • My boss told me that this was a man’s job.
  • I work in a boy’s club environment.
  • Women are excluded from important meetings at work.
  • The person interviewing me for a job asked me if I plan to have any children soon.
  • I was fired right after I complained to HR about gender discrimination.
  • I am being paid less than men who do the same job.
  • My boss told me to be a good woman and get him coffee.
  • My manager told me to wear sexier clothing.
  • I was fired today and replaced with a man.
  • I want to sue my company for gender discrimination.
  • My supervisor is sexist and gives favorable treatment to men.
  • I was laid off, but men with less seniority kept their jobs.
  • My boss says that I don’t look or act enough like a woman/man.

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Gender Discrimination FAQs

Many employees have faced discrimination based on their gender. Here are a few common questions we see around this issue:

Are There Other Laws That Protect Women’s Employment Rights?

Gender Discrimination Attorney: In addition to the protections offered by Title VII and Ohio’s laws, Congress has also enacted the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), which, like its name suggests, calls for men and women to be given equal pay when they perform the same work.

Further, Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA”) prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and related medical conditions. This means, for example, that a company which gives extra leaves of absence to employees with medical conditions must also extend this practice to pregnant women. Also, pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees.

Can I Be Fired For Reporting Gender Discrimination?

Gender Discrimination Attorney: You cannot be legally fired for reporting gender discrimination or sexual harassment. Both Title VII and Ohio’s employment law make it unlawful for an employer to retaliate in any way for reporting gender discrimination or sexual harassment. This includes a prohibition against firing, demoting, stripping of authority, or moving you to a less favorable shift. It is for this reason that it is important to document your complaints of gender discrimination or sexual harassment in writing. If need be, our employment law attorneys are available to help you write your complaint.

How Do I Prove Gender Discrimination?

Gender Discrimination Attorney: There are two ways to prove that you were discriminated against based on your gender. The first and simplest way is through the direct evidence approach. If your boss says, “I’m not promoting you because you are a woman,” or “I want a man for this job,” there is direct evidence. The second way is to show sex discrimination through circumstantial evidence. Under this option, you, as the employee, must first make out what lawyers call a “prima facie case.” This means that you have to produce evidence that: (1) you are female; (2) an adverse employment action was taken against you – fired, demoted, not promoted, not hired, etc. (3) you were qualified for the position held; and (4) you were replaced by or treated differently than someone outside of the protected class. Once an employee makes her prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to offer a legitimate, non-discriminatory explanation for its actions. Once the employer does this, the burden of proof shifts back to the employee to show that the reason given by the employer is not true, or what employment lawyers call pretext.

Do Gender Discrimination Laws Also Cover Men? As A Man, Can I File A Gender Discrimination Claim?

Gender Discrimination Attorney: Yes. Title VII’s prohibition of gender discrimination also applies to men. Therefore, a male employee who is fired, demoted, or denied a promotion or benefits because of his gender may have a valid claim for sex discrimination. For example, in historically female jobs, such as nurses, secretaries and cosmetics sales, for example, employers cannot refuse to hire men because of their gender. Similarly, employers cannot harass or discriminate against males who the boss, manager or supervisor thinks does not fit typical male stereotypes or is not masculine enough. Likewise, these gender discrimination laws equally protect men from being sexually harassed by their male or female boss, supervisor, or manager. (See Can Men Sue For Sex Comments At Work?; Attorney: Can A Man Sue His Male Boss For Sexual Harassment?Sexual Harassment: Men Are Protected Too?; and Can I Sue My Same-Sex Boss For Sexual Harassment?).

Can Gender Neutral Policies Be Unlawful?

Gender Discrimination Attorney: Yes. Your employer’s policy or practice that applies to everyone, and therefore appears to be gender-neutral, can be unlawful if it has an unbalanced negative impact on women (or men) and that policy or practice is not really job-related or necessary to business operations. As discussed earlier, a requirement that every employee be able to lift 100 pounds even though nothing on the job would require lifting more than 30 pounds would be gender-neutral but have a disparate impact on women while having no real job-related necessity. As such, such policy would violate gender discrimination laws.

These are just a few of the questions that come up when we are determining whether discrimination has occurred. Each case is different. For more information, send us an email or give us a call to get started.

DISCLAIMER: These answers do not constitute legal advice or guidance.

When You’re Worried About Your Job, Call The Right Attorney™

If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your gender or sex, then call the right attorney. It is never appropriate to discriminate against female employees. Discrimination against women includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied a promotion, and denied wages or not receiving equal pay. You can call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Because we know that many clients are not able to afford the costs of litigation up front, we take on more cases on a contingency fee basis than most firms. Contingency fee agreements mean that the client need not pay any fee for legal services unless and until our employment attorneys recover money and/or results on your gender discrimination claim. Give us a call or send us an email to get your process started.

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