Gender/Sex Discrimination

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UPDATE on LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered a decision upholding the rights of LGBTQ employees in the workplace. In a 6-3 decision, the Court stated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under federal law.

The law prohibits employers from making negative employment decisions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. This federal decision applies to any workplace with 15 or more employees throughout the United States.

Sex Discrimination Lawyers Helping Employees Fight Gender and Sex Discrimination in the Workplace for Over 25 Years

Gender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. It occurs when an employer makes unfair employment decisions based on whether an employee is a male or female. Gender discrimination can also include sexual harassment, gender identity discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination.

Gender discrimination victims often feel humiliated after the fact. However, they may not mention the event to HR or their boss. They may fear retaliation from their boss. They may worry they will get fired without a job to go back to.

Everyone has the right to a job free from gender discrimination. You have the right to feel validated as an employee, regardless of your gender. You have the right to be heard, despite your gender identity. When your employer chooses to ignore this right, you have a right to compensation. You have the right to work with an attorney who will help you fight for your right to a workplace free from gender and sex discrimination. An experienced sex discrimination lawyer will advocate for your rights in the workplace against gender discrimination and more.
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What is Gender/Sex Discrimination?

Gender discrimination (also known as sex discrimination) occurs when employers make employment decisions based on whether a person is a man or woman. An employer, CEO, supervisor/manager, co-worker, customer/client, or non-employee may all participate in gender discrimination against employees or job applicants.

Gender discrimination can come from men or women. It can take place between people of the same sex or different sexes.

Gender discrimination generally takes four basic forms in the workplace including the following:

  • Disparate Treatment: when an employee is treated differently because of gender.
  • Disparate Impact: when company policies exclude or otherwise adversely affect employees on the basis of gender, even when unintentional.
  • Sexual harassment/Hostile Work Environment: when misconduct interferes with individual work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
  • Sexual harassment/Quid Pro Quo: misconduct linked to a grant or denial of an economic benefit.

Gender discrimination is a complex area of the law and workers should consult with sex or gender discrimination lawyers if they feel they are being sexually harassed or treated unequally because of their gender.

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In 2016 the EEOC announced that IFCO systems will pay $202,200 in one of the commissions first sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits. The EEOC alleged that a supervisor at IFCO’s Baltimore facility routinely harassed a lesbian employee based on her sexual orientation, making remarks such as “I want to turn you back into a woman” and “you would look good in a dress.” The supervisor further made sexually suggestive gestures at her.

Days after she complained to management and called an employee hotline to report the harassment she was terminated. According to surveys reported by the non-profit GLAAD, more than 40% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and almost 90% of transgender people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment within their lifetime. While the landscape for LGBT workers is evolving more and more towards equality, employers still have a long way to go.

Organizations such as GLAAD and other non-profits help educate employees on their rights and provide support for LGBT workers. You are not alone. While certain outreach programs help empower you, a gay and lesbian discrimination attorney gives you the ability to fight for your legal rights.

The harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience representing victims of sexual discrimination. Recently, our experienced sexual harassment attorneys represented lesbian chef Mirella Salemi in a landmark sexual orientation discrimination case against her former employer, Gloria’s Tribeca Inc. A jury awarded Salemi $1.6 million after she endured years of sexual harassment and abuse from her ex-supervisor.


“Don’t wait to get help. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation” today.


What Are Some Examples of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?

Issues, such as wages, benefits, and glass ceilings, can be a product of gender discrimination. Some examples of gender discrimination may include:

  • Sexist comments in the workplace
  • Insisting men are only allowed to work as bartenders and busboys. Women are only allowed to work as waitresses and hostesses.
  • Refusing to hire a man because your company is a woman-owned business.
  • Using family obligations as a reason to avoid hiring women.
  • Refusing to promote women to any C-level positions.
  • Denying women benefits for their spouses and children. However, your employer offers male employees benefits for their families.
  • Paying men and women different pay rates for the same job responsibilities.
  • Sending emails depicting women in stereotypical gender roles.
  • Using offensive terms to refer to women and men in the office.
  • Wrongful termination when you reported your boss to HR for making sexist comments towards you and other women in the office.
  • Refusing to acknowledge your gender identity. Instead, your employer continues to use your pronoun as assigned at birth.
  • Making offensive comments about you and your same-sex partner because you are a member of the LBTQ+ community.

What Rights Do I Have as a Victim of Gender Discrimination at Work?

Federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender. It applies when businesses employ 15 or more people. You must file your federal law claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Many state laws also include gender as a protected class. State laws may apply to employers with as little as one employee. Many state laws allow you to file your lawsuit directly with the court.

Many times, state agencies will offer reciprocal options with the EEOC. Under a reciprocal option, cases filed in the state agency also get filed with the EEOC, and vice versa. Therefore, you may not need to decide between state and federal laws for your claim.

Discuss your case with a qualified sex and gender discrimination lawyer. Your attorney can help you determine the best courts and laws for your claim.

What Is the Time Limit to File a Gender Discrimination Lawsuit?

The EEOC requires you to file a claim for sex discrimination within 180 days of the date of the last incident. However, if your state has a law against gender discrimination at work, the statute of limitations is 300 days.

Each state sets different time limits for filing claims of sex or gender discrimination. To determine your time frame to file your claim, speak with a qualified gender discrimination lawyer.

The sex discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group can help you file your claim within the appropriate time limit. Their help ensures your case gets reviewed.

What Remedies Are Offered Through the Courts for Victims of Gender Discrimination?

As a victim of gender discrimination, you want relief from the courts. The courts may grant the following relief for your claim:

  • Reinstatement of employment
  • Reimbursement for related medical expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Back and future pay
  • Financial remedies (pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive damages)

Why Should You Work with a Discrimination Attorney for Your Sex or Gender Discrimination Claim?

Sex discrimination claims have a lasting effect on their victims. As a victim, you take the events relating to gender discrimination personally. You feel vulnerable and are often afraid to confront the people responsible for these events.

Working with a dedicated discrimination attorney can help you feel more confident. You feel as though it is not you versus your company. Instead, it is a team standing up for justice in the workplace.

A sex discrimination attorney can also help you meet the time limits set by the laws. These time limits include filing your claim, answering your opponent, and filing any additional documents.

Many times, without the legal expertise of your attorney, things can get missed. Unfortunately, not knowing the court’s time frames is not an excuse. The courts will not review your claim or may honor the other side’s request to dismiss.

Working with an experienced discrimination attorney will add credibility to your claim. It will help ensure the courts hear your claim. It also helps the negotiation process to help reach a settlement sooner rather than later.

Is Transgender a Protected Class?

While a relatively new area of litigation, the Supreme Court has routinely held that discriminating against an individual because they are transgender is discrimination. In Glenn v Brumby, a transgender female brought a claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleging she was unlawfully discriminated against based on her sex. The court concluded that she was terminated because she was transitioning from male to female. The court held that a person is a transgender “precisely because of the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes.” The court further stated there is a congruence between discriminating against a transgender individual on the basis of “gender-based” stereotypes. Because everyone is protected against discrimination based on sex stereotypes, such protections cannot be denied to transgender individuals.

Is Gender Identity a Protected Class?

Much like litigations relating to transgender issues, gender identity is a budding area of employment discrimination, the court has ruled that discriminating based on a person’s gender identity is illegal under Title VII.

In Mitchell v. Axcan Scandipharm, Inc., an employee was diagnosed with a gender identity disorder and began presenting at work as a female after having presented herself as a male during the first four years of her employment. As a result, she was terminated. The employer moved to dismiss. The Court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss, holding that because the complaint alleged facts showing that her failure to conform to the gender stereotypes of how a man should look and behave were the catalyst of her termination.
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The Court further held that she has sufficiently pleaded claims of gender discrimination. The Parris v. Keystone Foods court held that a chicken processing facility had fired an employee based on her “gender non-conformity. The Court recognized that the employees claims were covered under Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibitions.

While not explicitly a protected class, courts have routinely found ways to protect gender identity based on an individual’s preference.

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Contact Our Gender/Sex Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

Gender/Sex discrimination does not disappear on its own. In fact, most harassment gets worse over time if you do not take immediate action. No one should experience discrimination or harassment in the workplace because of gender. People have the right to work together in harmony, receiving the same treatment and benefits, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

To learn how we can help you fight back, contact the Derek Smith Law Group Attorneys at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.

Did you experience sex/gender discrimination in your workplace? Do you have a question about your rights? We want to answer your questions and help you wherever possible. Call us at 800.807.2209 or email us at derek@dereksmithlaw.com with your questions. We never charge for the first conversation.

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With over 25 years of experience, we have represented thousands of employment discrimination victims. We have recovered millions for our clients, including the largest emotional distress jury verdict in an employment law case ever to be sustained on appeal!

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