Sexual discrimination covers a wide variety of unlawful conduct. Federal law prohibits treating an employee or job applicant unfavorably due to their sex. California law is even more expansive in that it prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
This means that employers in the Oakland area need to ensure their hiring and management policies comply with both federal and state law. The Oakland sexual discrimination lawyers at Minnis & Smallets, LLP, assists employees in this area. We can help you hold an employer accountable for acts of sexual discrimination in the workplace.
Some people think sexual discrimination is the same thing as sexual harassment. The two are related but different. Sexual harassment is a subset of sexual discrimination.
Discrimination also refers to situations in which employees are treated less favorably with respect to compensation or working conditions based on gender. For instance, if an employer regularly pays women less than men to perform substantially similar work, that would constitute sex-based discrimination. Likewise, if an employer offers a certain type of job assignment to men but not women–without offering some legitimate business justification–that would also qualify as unlawful discrimination.
As for sexual harassment, this covers acts such as a supervisor or co-worker making unwanted sexual advances toward an employee. However, not all sexual harassment involves sex-based acts. It is also sexual harassment–and therefore discrimination–when a supervisor repeatedly makes sexist or offensive comments directed towards women or LGBT individuals. And harassment can come from anyone–not just men. The law covers same-sex harassment the same as any other form of discrimination.
Although federal and California law cover much the same ground with respect to sexual discrimination, there are some key differences. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act–the main federal law dealing with sexual discrimination–only applies to private businesses with at least 20 employees. In contrast, California law covers businesses with as few as five employees. Furthermore, California requires all public employers, and private businesses with at least 50 employees, to provide periodic sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors.
Starting in 2018, California law now affords additional workplace protections to transgender workers. Among other things, this law forbids employers from asking job applicants “questions designed to detect a person’s gender identity.” Employers must also not enforce policies that prevent employees from dressing “in accordance with their gender identity and expression.”
Dealing with all of these legal requirements often pose challenges to employees. The law firm of Minnis & Smallets, LLP, is here to help. If you need advice with respect to any sexual discrimination matter, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.