Though Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t initially include any reference to discrimination based on gender and it was only added at the last minute in an attempt to keep the bill from passing, it is now a firm stipulation that employers don’t have the right to discriminate against employees based on sex, which also means childbirth, pregnancy, and related issues.
To determine whether or not you have a sex discrimination case, it’s important to first understand what sex discrimination is.
Understanding Sex Discrimination
If your employer or potential employer is treating you differently because of your gender, this is known as illegal sex discrimination. Any form of gender discrimination is illegal, regardless of the moment it occurs, whether it’s during the hiring or interview process, while determining salaries, giving out promotions, determining job responsibilities, during layoffs or during the firing process.
So, if an employer is discouraging women from applying for certain jobs, is paying women less than men who hold the same positions, or refused to promote a woman to a managerial or supervisory position, they are discriminating based on gender, which is illegal. Another aspect of gender discrimination is when an employer makes assumptions based on sex. For example, an employer that refuses to promote a woman to a managerial position because she has young children and the assumption is that she wouldn’t be willing to put in longer hours or travel, which the job would require, is engaging in sex discrimination as well.
Sex Discrimination Cases Based on Stereotypes
Nowadays, outright sex discrimination is not quite as widespread as it used to be, which is why most cases are based on sexist assumptions or stereotypes regarding the roles of men and women in society. For example, a manager might try to force a pregnant woman to leave the company or outright fire her because he thinks that women should stay home with their young children, or thinks the woman will opt to do so anyway. Another example would be a construction company refusing to hire a woman as a foreman thinking that the men won’t take orders from her or give her the same respect they would a man.
These situations are gender-based discrimination and are illegal, regardless of whether the actions of the company are due to the management’s negative opinion of woman or not. If a company refuses to promote women, the reasoning behind it is irrelevant, even if they think they are doing the right thing.
Look Around before Assumptions are Made
So, if you have been passed over for promotion repeatedly and men with the same qualifications and experience as you or men who are less qualified than you have been promoted, you might have a case of sex discrimination. However, you need to be realistic because if there are other women in management positions in the company you work for, it might be difficult to prove that you were passed over for promotion because you are a woman, unless the position is one that is traditionally held by men.
Sex discrimination cases can be quite tricky, which is why it’s extremely important to consult a lawyer to discuss your case. There are many aspects that need to be looked at, such as whether you really were qualified for the position. Furthermore, if the company can prove your performance wasn’t up to the mark to merit the promotion, you will have a hard time proving that you didn’t receive the promotion because of sex discrimination.
At Makarem & Associates, we can represent your sex discrimination cases and if you have a valid claim, we can help you win. However, it’s important that you get in touch with us as soon as possible by email at [email protected] or by phone at 310.312.0299 so we can start building your formidable case.