Sex and gender discrimination and harassment can take many forms in the workplace. Common types of discrimination include unequal treatment in pay, conditions, and terms of employment; sexual harassment; and pregnancy discrimination.
Although women are often the victims of sex and gender discrimination, federal and Massachusetts state laws equally protect men and women since men can also suffer from gender-based stereotypes. The law requires employers to treat employees equally and give them equal pay and opportunities.
What is Sex and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?
Sex or gender discrimination at work involves the unfavorable treatment of employees or job applicants based on their gender. For instance, one familiar aspect of sex and gender discrimination is subjecting women to higher evaluation standards than those applied to their male counterparts.
However, sometimes the law permits employers to make employment decisions based on gender and gender-specific characteristics. For example, the law may permit an agency to hire only women as nurses at halfway houses for young women. Employers should base these rare exceptions on compelling evidence and not assumptions, stereotypes, or prejudice.
State and Federal Sex and Gender Discrimination Laws
Employees who face sex and gender discrimination in Boston may seek relief and protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act. These acts broadly prohibit all forms of unfavorable treatment in the workplace, including sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and pregnancy discrimination.
Additionally, the Federal Equal Pay Act and Massachusetts Equal Pay Act prohibit employers from using sex and gender to determine compensation. They guarantee equal pay for equal work for both sexes in the workplace.
If you’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace based on your sex or gender identity, a Boston sex and gender discrimination lawyer will work with you to gather evidence to show the intent and effects of the employer’s policies or actions.
Examples of Sex and Gender Discrimination
Sex and gender discrimination takes many forms, including intentional discriminatory treatment or allowing workplace practices that negatively impact employees based on their sex or gender. Examples include:
- Decisions regarding hiring, salary, benefits, work responsibilities, promotion, or other actions affecting the terms and conditions of employment in Massachusetts that disadvantage certain people due to their sex or gender
- Employer’s prejudicial discounting of women’s suitability for conventionally male-dominated jobs such as finance, construction, or science-related fields
- Sexual harassment in the workplace, such as sexual assault, unwanted touching, verbal harassment, or sexual and sexist jokes
- Pay differences for the same work because of the employee’s gender
- Actions and comments that single out or unfairly criticize individuals due to their sex or gender identity
- Retaliatory actions against employees who complain to the HR department of discrimination against sex and gender
- Bias against pregnant employees
- Implementing unfair dress or grooming codes
Gender discrimination may also appear as “sex-plus” policies. Sex-plus bias refers to the practice of making workplace decisions based on differences between same-gender employees due to an additional “plus” characteristic. For example, discriminatory practices affecting women based on their appearance, pregnancy, parenthood, marital status, and other characteristics.
Any of the above adverse actions by employers against one or more employees may constitute illegal gender discrimination in Massachusetts.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Sex and Gender Discrimination Cases?
Sex and gender discrimination lawyers handle cases involving claims of sex and gender discrimination, sexually hostile workplace environments, and sexual harassment.
What to Do If You Suffer Sex and Gender Discrimination
If you believe that your supervisor or employer is treating you improperly because of your sex or gender and that the discrimination has created a hostile workplace environment, then you should involve a sex and gender discrimination attorney immediately. You should also inform your job’s human resources department or report the matter to a superior.
Unfortunately, many employers often attempt to conceal or minimize sex and gender discrimination or harassment in the workplace because of the potential blowback. They also tend to protect bad actors or their reputations and fight these types of claims to avoid backlash or public scrutiny. Should this happen to you, an attorney will help you gather the information needed to support your claims and protect your rights.
Why You Should Hire HKM Employment Attorneys
HKM Employment Attorneys can guide you through the claim filing process and fight against sex and gender discrimination or harassment. Our Boston sex and gender discrimination lawyers will act as your advocates every step of the way, from filing the initial complaint to fighting your case in court. Take the first step toward resolving your discrimination case today by contacting us for an initial consultation.