Los Angeles Gender Discrimination Lawyer
Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Federal law has protected certain traits or characteristics from discrimination in the workplace. These traits include race, national origin, color, religion, gender or sex, and disability. Before that, however, there was the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This entitled women to make as much as men for the same amount of work. In other words, American companies could no longer use gender as the reason to pay a worker less their male counterparts.
Nonetheless, decades later, and despite attempts to enforce the law and clarify its scope, women are still being discriminated against on the basis of their sex. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the remedies that Los Angeles residents have at their disposal when confronting gender discrimination in the workplace.
If you’ve faced gender discrimination in the workplace, the Dolan Law Firm can help you recover damages, restore your job, or lobby your superiors for fair pay. Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin discussing your options today.
What is Gender Discrimination in California?
Gender discrimination, loosely defined, means making a negative choice against either an employee or a prospective employee on the basis of their sex, gender, and in California, their gender expression. In some states, transgender men and women are protected by state and federal statute. California laws protect transgender residents as well.
Different Kinds of Gender Discrimination
There are a number of different ways gender discrimination can manifest in the workplace. These include:
- Hiring, Firing, and Promotions. For years, women in the workplace talked about a “glass ceiling”. Men with equal or lesser qualifications were promoted over them. While many corporations have recognized the value of having women in positions of power, many remain stuck in old-hat beliefs concerning the role of women and the role of men. Both federal law and California law prohibit the use of gender as a qualifying or disqualifying factor in hiring, firing, or promoting. If you have been passed up for a promotion, denied employment, or let go based on your gender, Dolan Law Firm can help.
- Pay raises and salary offers. Those who work their way through the ranks in a workplace are entitled to the salary offered by that position. They cannot be shortchanged simply because of their gender.
- Demotions based on maternity leave. In some cases, companies will demote employees who are returning from maternity leave because they no longer have the requisite time to put in many hours of unpaid overtime because they are classified as an “executive” or “professional”. Their employee classification is degraded and they are paid less. This is illegal.
- Employee benefits. Companies cannot offer spousal coverage to male employees and then deny them to female employees on the grounds that their husband will likely be covered.
Two Different Means of Discriminating against Employees
Sometimes, but not always, gender discrimination is overt. You’re being paid less because of your gender and your employer is using some other pretense to justify it. In other cases, the discrimination is systemic or structural.
For instance, let’s say a company pays new recruits 10% more than their last salary. They can hire a female employee at a discount because women (still) tend to make less than men on average. Even though their decision-making process did not consider gender, there was a structural problem that it perpetuated.
Which Employees are Subject to Anti-Discrimination Laws?
Civil rights laws are legislated on three different levels. Those are: The federal level, the state level, and on the local city level. To bring a charge of discrimination against your employer in federal court, your employer must have discriminated against you on the basis of:
- National origin,
- Or disability.
Unfortunately, federal law does not protect against gender nonconformity discrimination or gender expression discrimination. Nor does federal law protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
On the other hand, California state law does protect individuals with those characteristics from discrimination. Thus, lawsuits that allege discrimination on the basis of gender expression or identity must be taken up in state court.
There are other differences between state and federal law as well. For instance, federal law applies to any company with 15 or more employees. California anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, apply to any company with 5 or more employees. If your company discriminates against you and only has 6 employees, you must take the matter up in state court as opposed to federal.
Lastly, some cities extend civil rights protections beyond those of the State of California.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Federal and state courts have long held that sexual harassment is a form of sex or gender discrimination. While on the one hand, sexual harassment is a different kind of case to try in court, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination because it’s targeted at someone on the basis of their sex. On the same token, if someone is being singled out, mocked, or otherwise abused on the basis of their race, they may not be passed up for a promotion, but they are the target of racial discrimination in the workplace.
Proving sexual harassment generally requires that you attempt to settle the situation with your employer first by reporting the harassment to your HR department or supervisor. If the behavior persists or is part of the culture of the workplace, you can then pursue the matter in court. Some behavior, however, is so egregious, that it need not be part of an ongoing pattern in the workplace.
Contact a Gender Discrimination Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, then you’re entitled to sue. You may be tempted to just walk away, but the fact is, we’ve allowed these companies to get away with discriminatory behavior for too long. In so doing, we’ve perpetuated it. The law allows you to fight back. You should fight back and the attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm can help you do just that. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at our office or contact us online for a free case evaluation.