Sacramento Gender Discrimination Lawyer
Gender stereotypes die hard, whether in social or work contexts. Add in the fact that our economy has more job seekers than jobs, and the situation is ripe for abuses of power at the worksite. Women know that their gender has historically been viewed as making them more fit for some jobs than others, and that the jobs they were given tended to be less important, less intellectual, and lower paid than the jobs deemed better for men.
While progress has been made in recent decades, the problem has certainly not disappeared. Employment discrimination against women is one of the most common types of employment discrimination claims even today. Gender-based discrimination also applies to transgendered people.
Laws Prohibiting Sex Discrimination
In California, sex discrimination is prohibited both by Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The laws apply to somewhat different universes of employers—FEHA tends to reach more employers than Title VII generally, and applies to just about all employers when it comes to cases of harassment. The laws also differ to some degree in the damages and remedies for discrimination—again, FEHA tends to be more generous to the victims of discrimination.
The prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex and gender applies to every aspect of the employment relationship, including decisions as to:
- The specific position and location
- The hours to be worked
- Promotions and demotions
- Offers of training and education opportunities
- Rates of pay
A condition of employment can be discriminatory, even if it applies to everyone, if the nature of the condition means that it will have a greater impact on one gender and is not, in fact, necessary to the job. The most common examples of these discriminatory impacts involve physical abilities like lifting relatively large weights.
Sex discrimination includes “harassment” of the employee at the workplace in a way that makes the employee uncomfortable or fearful of losing her job unless she does something she does not want to do or need to do as part of the job. Sexual Harassment may involve pressuring an employee—male or female—for sexual favors, but may also involve creating a hostile atmosphere that makes the employee’s work life unpleasant to unbearable.
These cases can be especially harmful to the employee. They are not a one-time event like a promotion or transfer, but continue day after day. Many victims of harassment come to dread going to work, and often develop physical illnesses from the pressure. These emotional and psychological consequences often last long after the employee has finally parted ways with the employer.
Proving Sex Discrimination
Rarely does an employer admit to discriminating on the basis of gender, and rarely does a coworker admit to harassment. The attorney, working with the employee, needs to accumulate many different types of evidence, to demonstrate that the employer’s version is simply not believable, and that the employee’s story is.
That proof is considerably easier if the employee is diligent in collecting evidence and making a detailed record of the events as they occur. For example, a written diary of the events (not on the company’s computer system) is very useful later, especially in cases of harassment. Employees also have a right to review their personnel file. Doing that and making copies before the dispute really heats up may preserve evidence that might otherwise disappear before the dispute becomes formal.
Sex discrimination cases can be complicated and drawn out. Getting the advice and support of an experienced sex discrimination attorney can help ease the pressure and expedite the proceedings. As the case comes to settlement or trial, it takes an experienced attorney to make sure that the employee gets full compensation for the wrong, including lost pay (both past and future), punitive damages if warranted, emotional distress and attorneys fees.
The attorneys at Labor Law Office, APC in Sacramento have represented thousands of employees in both class actions and individual actions. Give us a call today and tell us what has happened.