The Spitz Law Firm (a limited liability company)
The Spitz Law Firm (a limited liability company)

Gender Discrimination FAQs

Gender Discrimination FAQs

Defending All Employees’ Right To Work

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.

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