Sex Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers of more than 15 employees from discriminating against applicants and employees because of sex with regard to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.

Title VII prohibits both intentional sex discrimination, such as harassment and conduct that creates a hostile work environment, as well as some forms of unintentional sex discrimination referred to as “disparate impact.”  Disparate impact discrimination occurs when an employer’s neutral policy or practice places a disproportionate burden on employees as a result of their sex or gender.

Under Title VII, employees must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the discriminatory action.  This is a strict deadline.  You will lose some of the most important federal claims available to you if you do not file a charge with the EEOC.  If you have already missed the deadline, it is still important to reach out to an attorney to discuss your options.

Some Examples of Sex Discrimination Include:

  • Unequal Pay:  Differing incomes for men and women, even when their jobs require comparable job skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions.
  • Differing Job Responsibilities Men and women assigned to job duties that reflect a historical bias, such as men lifting objects and woman performing clerical tasks.
  • Biased Hiring Practices:  Allowing an individual’s sex or gender to play a role in whether an individual is hired or asking different interview questions based on an applicant’s sex. For example, asking a woman if she has child or if caring for her child will interfere with performing the duties of the job.
  • Biased Promotion Decisions:  Allowing an individual’s sex or gender to play a role in whether an individual is promoted.
  • Gender-Based Dress Codes:  Requiring women to wear dresses and skirts when there is no legitimate business reason for doing so.

With regard to job candidates, employers often fail to recognize the most relevant question: Can this individual do the job?  Regardless of how elaborate an employee handbook may be, the real policy of an employer is seen through the actions it takes when administering the terms and conditions employment.

Some women continue to experience glass ceilings when aspiring to move up the ladder.  They also experience glass walls when they express an interest in making lateral career moves into occupations that have been historically held by men.

Sex and gender discrimination is an increasing area of concern as the number of women and openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals enter the workforce. Various laws require that all employees are to be given equal access to and protections in the workplace.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) is a federal labor law that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing the discriminatory wage gap between men and women. With some exceptions, this law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex.  Under this law, employers are not permitted to pay lower wages to the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.  All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, allowances, travel reimbursement and benefits.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex with regard to pay and benefits.

If you have been subjected to discrimination because of your sex, contact Rich Daugherty.  He is experienced in representing clients who have been victims of sex discrimination in the workplace and will fight to protect your rights.  In addition to litigating cases, Rich also works with clients to reach practical and effective solutions through negotiation.  When you contact his office, you’ll have direct access to him.

You can arrange for an initial phone conference with Rich at no charge.

Rich represents clients from across North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and more. He is available to meet with prospective clients outside of Chapel Hill when circumstances permit. Evening appointments are also available.

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