What Is Gender Discrimination?

According to human rights, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or a candidate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. When an employee makes a complaint, the employer may have committed unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex.

In New York City, human rights law interdicts discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of gender, gender identity, and expression as well as sexual orientation. Employers must not discriminate against qualified workers or applicants on the basis of their gender identity or discriminate on the basis of good professional qualifications under the statutory prohibition. An employer may not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity, even if that identity is associated with a person identified as a gender at birth.

Gender discrimination is treating people differently in their employment, whether they are women or men. Discrimination on the basis of an individual’s gender identity, including transsexual status or sexual orientation is discrimination on the basis of sex, which is a violation of Title VII. Discrimination on the basis of sexuality involves treating an applicant or employee as if they were of different sex, including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, or pregnancy.

Discrimination on sex grounds also includes discrimination on grounds of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related diseases, discrimination on grounds of gender identity or expression, sexual harassment, and harassment on grounds of pregnancy or childbirth in connection with an illness. Sexual harassment can manifest in many forms of discrimination based on gender that is not sexual harassment such as discrimination in hiring, dismissal, promotion, benefits, pay, discrimination and gender stereotyping. Gender discrimination can show when a person is treated differently in academics, extracurricular activities, academic programs, disciplines, classroom assignments, class enrollment, physical education, grades, and athletics because of their gender.

Gender discrimination describes a situation in which individuals on the basis of their individual abilities are treated differently by a male or female. Discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender is a frequent violation of civil rights, which can take many forms, including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and undeserved pay when women do the same work as men. Gender discrimination means treating someone differently because of their gender but not necessarily because of their sexual nature.

Gender discrimination refers to characteristics associated with male or female identity, while gender refers to anatomical identity. Women, including trans women, experience gender discrimination, sexism, prejudice, stereotyping, and gender discrimination that can lead to experiences of inequalities and limitations.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act, a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, and national origin, has provided workers and applicants with nationwide protections for decades, but gender discrimination persists in modern workplaces and disproportionately affects women of color and transgender women. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) counts gender identity and sexual orientation among the protected characteristics and includes the national prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender and sex. In a recent ruling, the United States Supreme Court extended the protection of workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, stating that workers must not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If you encounter problems at work because of your gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or pregnancy, or if you are concerned about gender discrimination in the workplace, you should consult a sexual harassment lawyer about your specific situation. If your employer engages in gender discrimination or sexual harassment, one of the labor rights groups in Maines has a female discrimination advocate who can help protect your rights. At Florin & Roebig, attorneys advise women and other marginalized persons who are unlawfully discriminated against in the workplace on the grounds of their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

This section provides detailed information on unlawful discrimination based on sex and gender in a number of areas, including employment and education, and links to key US Federal laws and decisions in this area. One of the most important laws on gender discrimination in the workplace is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in particular, title VII of that Act, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion, gender or national origin” in all aspects of employment. A separate administrative authority was created under the 1964 law to oversee federal civil rights legislation, including the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to enforce the law and prevent discrimination based on race, gender (or color), religion, national origin, disability, or age in the employment, firing, or promotion of employees.

Discrimination on the basis of marital status is not prohibited by federal law but in private employment and is an interdiction of discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability. The Maine Human Rights Act provides workers with protections similar to federal laws including discrimination against women, sexual harassment, and pregnancy discrimination. However, the explicit protection against discrimination based on remuneration, hostile work environments, discrimination based on pregnancy or birth-related illnesses, and discrimination based on unlawful gender stereotypes, gender identity, and transsexual status has yet to be finalized.

For example, Michigan and Pennsylvania are the only states to interpret existing gender discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. California, where employers may not discriminate on the basis of perceived sex or gender, but not on the basis of belonging to, or being perceived as belonging to, a protected class.

Survey data from the Pew Research Center show that women of working adults are more likely than men (42% vs. 22%) to experience one of eight different forms of gender discrimination in the workplace. The first two types of unlawful behavior in the workplace involve decisions to grant employment benefits on the basis of the sex or gender of the employee.

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