Title VII prohibits discrimination “because of” an employee’s sex. In other words, your sex cannot play a role in any aspect of your employment, including hiring, transfers, promotions, pay, disciplinary action, suspensions, and discharges. In addition to Title VII, a related law, the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. Although this does not mean that pregnant women are entitled to special treatment, it does mean that pregnant women must be treated equally to non-pregnant individuals. For example, if your company gives extra leaves of absence to employees with medical conditions, they must extend this practice to pregnant women. The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) also gives you certain rights if you need a leave of absence for your pregnancy or for the birth of your child.
Title VII also prohibits discrimination against men. Thus, for example, when a male employee is denied a promotion in favor of a female employee, and the male can prove that the reason was “because of his sex,” he may have a claim for sex discrimination.
Sex discrimination also includes sexual harassment. If the employer creates a hostile environment for an individual based on his or her sex, the action is just as discriminatory as firing a person because of his or her sex. The aw also prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for complaining about sex discrimination or sexual harassment or for participating in someone else’s sex discrimination or sexual harassment case.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you are entitled to be free from sex discrimination and harassment. If, however, you feel that you are the victim of sex discrimination, call us at 202-589-1838 or email us.