Workplace discrimination occurs in many different forms, with gender discrimination being one of the most common. Outright and overt discrimination is a major issue, but gender or sex discrimination often manifests in more subtle and pervasive ways. For this reason, it can difficult for victims of sex discrimination to recognize its occurrence and seek the remedies that they deserve. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C. we advocate for the rights of sex discrimination victims. Through our legal representation, we ensure that victims receive the compensation that they are entitled to and work tirelessly to prevent future discrimination issues in the workplace. In doing so, our clients are able to regain their place in the workforce and establish a better life for themselves and their families. Contact our New York City sex discrimination lawyers or call 347-321-8895 to discuss your case today.
What Is Sex or Gender Discrimination?
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sex discrimination in the workplace as the unfavorable treatment of a job applicant or employee on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. State and federal law prohibits all forms of discrimination as it relates to job duties, such as:
- Job assignments
- Fringe benefits
- Any other condition of employment
Therefore, if an employer perpetuates gender or sex discrimination in any of these areas of employment, they can be held accountable under the law. If you have experienced treatment in your workplace that negatively impacts the terms, conditions, or benefits of your employment, then it may be considered illegal sex discrimination.
It is also important to note that the term “sex discrimination” can be misleading or ambiguous at first glance. Sex and gender discrimination go hand in hand, and any discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity is also considered sex discrimination under the law. The terms “sex” and “gender” are used interchangeably in anti-discrimination legislation, which can lead to confusion.
What Is Gender Identity and Gender Expression?
Encompassed within the broad category of sex discrimination, gender discrimination is also a major issue in the workplace. Gender identity refers to an individual’s actual or expressed gender-related appearance, behavior, or other characteristics. Gender identity and expression refers to something entirely separate from the sex a person was assigned at birth.
For this reason, individuals who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or otherwise gender-nonconforming are also protected under sex discrimination laws. This is important to acknowledge when navigating sex discrimination cases. If you are unsure of whether or not you have been subject to sex and gender discrimination, a sex discrimination lawyer at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help you navigate this issue.
Another common form of sex discrimination that may not be immediately recognized as such is pregnancy discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, stating that a pregnant job applicant or employee cannot be treated unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth, or any pregnancy-related medical condition.
Moreover, if a woman is temporarily unable to perform job duties due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, then the employer is legally obligated to treat her in the same way they would treat any other temporarily disabled worker. They are required to provide lighter job duties, if reasonable, unpaid leave, or disability leave, for example.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also sets forth requirements for pregnant women, stating that employees are able to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family or medical reasons. Eligible employees are provided with twelve weeks of leave. Failure to honor the FMLA may constitute pregnancy discrimination.
How To Identify Gender or Sex Discrimination In The Workplace
As mentioned earlier, it can be exceedingly difficult to identify sex discrimination in the workplace. As a result, sex discrimination can go under-reported. This is primarily due to the fact that many instances of gender discrimination are subtle, covert, or institutionalized through employment policies or practices.
Some examples of sex discrimination in the workplace include:
- An employer not hiring a woman because she will not fit into the traditionally male workplace setting.
- Being paid less than coworkers who perform the same or similar job functions, simply because of sex or gender.
- Being held to different standards than employees of other genders or, alternatively, being told to present yourself differently in order to adhere to more traditional ideas of masculinity or femininity.
- Being denied a promotion, training opportunity, or pay raise that is instead given to a person of another gender who is less qualified or eligible than you.
- Being rejected for a job or given fewer assignments because you are pregnant.
- Being subject to sexist remarks or derogatory slurs based on gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
- Calling a transgender individual by their dead name or misrepresenting their preferred gender in salutations.
- Being subject to unwanted sexual advances or otherwise sexually harassed
While these are some of the more explicit examples of sex or gender discrimination, many times an employer’s policies or procedures will be reflective of discriminatory behavior. For instance, if an employer requires a specific hiring requirement or test that, in practice, keeps people of a certain gender or gender identity out of the workplace, that is considered sex discrimination. This behavior is still unlawful, even if the employer did not put that requirement or test in place with the explicit goal of keeping out people of other genders.
In essence, if the behavior, actions, or policies of an employer negatively affect the terms and conditions of your employment, then discrimination may be present. Terms and conditions can include a variety of factors such as job responsibilities, wages, performance evaluations, dress code, holiday or sick days, and working hours, to name a few.
Discriminatory employment practices have a substantial effect on a worker’s livelihood. For instance, pay discrimination can lead to major differences in lifelong earnings, therefore impacting the worker’s family and even generational wealth. Victims of sex discrimination are subject to long-term emotional and financial consequences. For this reason, holding discriminatory employers responsible is incredibly important. It may be daunting to bring about legal action regarding discriminatory behavior in the workplace, but our sex discrimination lawyers can help.
Sex or Gender Discrimination Resources
Experiencing sex discrimination can leave victims feeling vulnerable and unsure of where to turn for help. There are a variety of resources available to victims of sex discrimination, including:
- Lean In: an organization that advocates for the rights of victims of sexual harassment and discrimination.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: the federal institution responsible for fielding sex discrimination claims.
- New York City Commission on Human Rights: a city-wide commission that accepts and investigates sex discrimination complaints.
- The American Psychological Association: a national scientific and professional physiological organization, offering resources regarding different emotional and mental issues
These resources were established to help victims of sex discrimination navigate the emotional, financial, and personal distress associated with this issue. In addition, our New York City sex discrimination lawyers can help you pursue legal action against employers who have committed sex discrimination.
How Can Our New York City Sex Discrimination Lawyers Help?
From gender bias to harassment, sex discrimination is a paramount issue within New York workplaces. Whether you would like to file a complaint through the relevant institution or pursue legal action against a discriminatory employer, the sex discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. We have the skill and experience necessary to fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our gender discrimination lawyers or call us today at 347-321-8895 to learn more about how we can help.