State and federal laws prohibit employers from engaging in discrimination based upon an employee’s sex or gender. California state law goes even further and expressly prohibits discrimination against employees who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. The law also prohibits harassment of an employee for these same reasons. Collectively, these laws create some of the strongest protections against sex-based discrimination in the entire country.
California had one of the earliest equal pay laws in the United States. It enacted the Equal Pay Act in 1949, and in 2015, this law was strengthened by the California Fair Pay Act. Among other important protections, the Fair Pay Act made it more difficult for employers to justify pay inequalities between employees of different genders.
Discrimination based upon pregnancy is, in effect, discrimination based upon the fact that the employee is a woman. At the federal level, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made this clear. Employees who are discriminated against due to pregnancy have a legal claim for gender discrimination.
Sexual harassment has long been treated as a form of prohibited sex discrimination. This is because sexual harassment changes the terms and conditions of employment-based upon the victim’s sex or gender. State and federal law both prohibit sexual harassment in the California workplace.
Unless an employer can demonstrate “business necessity,” it cannot require you to engage in dress and grooming that conflicts with your gender identity. An example of “business necessity” might be a television show in which the actor’s dress is necessary for his or her role.
Employers may not require you to use a restroom or locker room facility that corresponds to the sex you were assigned at birth. Any single-use toilet facility must be labeled as an all-gender restroom, rather than being designated for use by any particular gender.
Oakland employees have the right to be free from discrimination based upon sex or gender. Complaints of discrimination and harassment must be filed with the EEOC or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. While these complaints are a necessary step toward holding employers accountable for unlawful workplace conduct, they often do not result in compensation to the victim. This is why it is important to also consult with an attorney about your right to file a civil lawsuit to recover for the financial losses and emotional distress you have experienced as a result of unlawful discrimination and harassment.
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual discrimination, it is important to hold your employer accountable for this illegal conduct. This is the only way to discourage employers from engaging in gender discrimination against other employees in the future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our experienced sex discrimination lawyers in Oakland at Minnis & Smallets will aggressively defend your employment rights and hold your employer accountable for following state and federal law.