Do I Have a Gender Discrimination Case?

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

Recognizing the signs of gender discrimination in your workplace is crucial for self-advocacy and upholding your legal rights. If you notice consistent patterns that suggest decisions about job assignments, promotions, or pay are influenced by gender rather than qualifications and performance, it may be time to explore what protections the law affords you. Understanding if these experiences constitute a viable case under applicable laws can empower you to seek justice and effect change within your employment circumstances.

How is Gender Discrimination Defined Under The Law?

Gender discrimination in the workplace is defined as unfair treatment or disparity in hiring, firing, training selection, compensation, or terms of employment based on an individual’s sex, including gender identity or expression. 

Under federal law and California state laws, it is illegal for employers to engage in a series of practices that constitute gender discrimination such as:

  • Refusing to hire someone based on their sex
  • Discharging employees or impacting their career advancement due to their gender
  • Denying access to training programs necessary for job success based on one’s sex

Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII) make it illegal for an employer to fire, demote, fail to hire, fail to promote, harass, or otherwise discriminate against you (such as by paying a lower wage or denying benefits that other workers receive) because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.”

Discrimination based on sex encompasses a broad spectrum of unfair treatment connected to gender-specific conditions. It isn’t limited merely to how employers might treat men and women differently; it includes discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding as well. 

Ultimately, gender discrimination encompasses many different behaviors, and the best way to learn more is to speak with an experienced attorney.

Determining If You Have a Gender Discrimination Case

Discerning whether you have a legitimate gender discrimination case involves assessing various facets of your work life for discriminatory patterns. Consider the following:

Wage Gaps: If the opposite sex is being paid more for performing similar duties under similar or identical circumstances, this could be evidence of wage disparity based on your gender.

Lack of Advancement: If career progression opportunities – such as promotions, advanced trainings, mentoring programs – seem disproportionately favored to one particular gender, it may suggest gender-based discrimination in your workplace.

Hiring and Firing Practices: If you notice that hiring or firing activities favor one gender over another, causing a noticeable imbalance in staff diversity, this discriminatory tendency might indicate existing gender bias.

Workplace Policies: Certain policies can disproportionately affect employees of one particular sex. This may range from assignment of tasks to dress code requirements. If policies negatively impact only one specific group based on sex without a feasible explanation, it could be gender discrimination.

Hostile Work Environment: Consider whether you or your colleagues have been subjected to inappropriate jokes, comments, or actions that are gender-based. These types of behavior can contribute to a hostile work environment and may be indicative of underlying gender discrimination.

Keep in mind that recognizing these signs is just the first step – knowing what to do next is just as important.

What To Do If You Suspect Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue that no one should have to face. If you suspect you’re being discriminated against based on your gender, here are proactive steps you can take:

Recognize The Signs: Make sure you understand what constitutes gender discrimination. It can include biased hiring practices, targeted mistreatment, and unequal pay or promotion opportunities, as discussed above.

Document Everything: Write down instances as soon as they occur with date and time, the people involved, and the nature of the interaction or communication. Keep a record of all emails, memos, letters, and notes that hint at discriminatory behavior. 

Reach Out To HR: Report your concerns to the human resources department in your company. Share your documentation and keep the conversation professional and factual.

Seek Legal Counsel: If you are not satisfied with the response from your HR department or if the discrimination continues, consult an attorney specializing in employment law to explore possible legal actions you can take.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak with a gender discrimination lawyer to determine what your next steps should be.