There are many forms of gender discrimination that an employee can suffer from in the workplace. California has some of the most comprehensive gender protections for workers in the entire country. It is important for workers to understand their rights so that they may take action to enforce them. There are many state and federal laws that work to protect employees by prohibiting gender discrimination on the job, and employees should seek help from a gender discrimination lawyer in the Bay Area.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was an expansion of gender protections created under earlier laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act recognized that employers who discriminate on the basis of pregnancy are actually discriminating on the basis of gender because only women can get pregnant.
Any form of discrimination related to pregnancy (or related medical conditions) is a violation of federal law. This includes discrimination in pay or benefits, the ability to take medical leave, promotions or demotions, and other terms or conditions of employment. Even the refusal to make reasonable accommodations is a prohibited form of pregnancy discrimination.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 – a full year before the Civil Rights Act. It requires equal pay for men and women who perform substantially similar jobs under similar working conditions. Pay includes the entire compensation package: base pay, bonuses, commissions, and any other forms of compensation.
In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act changed the statute of limitations on pay discrimination claims, making it easier for employees to file a claim. Prior to this act, the statute of limitations began to run when the employer made a discriminatory pay decision against an employee. The Act changed the deadline to begin when an employee actually receives a paycheck that reflects gender discrimination.
California is one of the early pioneers in LGBT rights. Since 2004, it has been illegal for employers in California to discriminate against employees based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. This applies to employment decisions about hiring, rate of pay, promotions, working conditions, discipline, and termination. The law also broadly covers “actual or perceived” sexual orientation or gender identity. This means that an employee has a claim for gender discrimination regardless of their actual sexual orientation or gender identity – as long as the employer discriminates, the conduct is illegal.
Gender discrimination in employment is a problem for all workers – not just the individual whose rights have been violated. By holding employers accountable for this illegal conduct, employees are not only enforcing their own legal rights but also making all workplaces in California safer for millions of Californians. The advice of an experienced employment lawyer can help aggrieved employees through the challenging legal process.
Minnis and Smallets is a Bay Area employment law firm. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced California gender discrimination attorney.