Hostile work environment suits are based on claims that an employee was discriminated or harassed at their workplace because of their age, sex, gender or other protected characteristics. Under federal law and the California Fair Housing and Employment Act, discrimination in the workplace that is based on a person’s sex is explicitly illegal. Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment/discrimination, same-sex discrimination, discrimination because of childbirth, pregnancy or other sex-related medical condition, and same-sex discrimination.
Typically sex discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently because of that person’s sex or gender. Similarly, sex discrimination also occurs when an employee is treated less favorably because of their affiliation with a group/organization that has ties and/or affiliations with a particular sex. Oftentimes, sex discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently because they do not conform to traditional gender standards of masculinity or femininity. Harassment, which is a type of discrimination, often occurs when offensive slurs or other remarks are made concerning females and males as a whole.
Under federal and state law, an employer is required to provide equality in working conditions. An employer does not uphold this duty when sex discrimination occurs in the workplace. Common types of specifically prohibited conduct that do not foster equality in the workplace include:
- Working conditions and employment benefits applied or maintained in a discriminatory manner;
- Provided rest periods that are unequal based on gender;
- Unequal access to adequate and comparable restroom facilities for female and male employees;
- The discharge of or otherwise discrimination against any employee who is a parent, grandparent or guardian of a child for taking off up to 40 hours every school year (applicable to employers with 25 or more employees);
- Only providing support services, such as office space and clerical assistance, based on sex or other discriminatory reasons; and
- Employee duties assigned based on sex or gender stereotypes.
Sexual Harassment Claims in Los Angeles
Sexual harassment is one of the most common types of sex discrimination that can occur at workplaces. Under California law, an employee, although not an independent contractor, has an absolute right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can include verbal harassment, physical harassment, the solicitation of sexual favors, and visual harassment. In Los Angeles, when claiming that sexual harassment has caused a hostile workplace, it is not necessary to prove that a psychological injury occurred as a result of the harassment. Furthermore, such harassment does not have to be continuous or ongoing. However, an employer can be found responsible for sexual harassment conducted by both co-workers and non-employees when that employer knew or should have known that harassment was occurring, and the employer did not take appropriate and immediate action.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys: Providing Exceptional Employment Law Attorneys
Sex discrimination in the workplace is a serious matter, it is illegal, and it can ultimately cause a hostile work environment. If you feel that you have been the victim of sexual discrimination in the workplace, you should make sure to contact HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Los Angeles, California today.