What is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?

Gender discrimination in the workplace is essentially being treated less well because of your gender as it's stated in the New York City Human Rights Law. Some examples of gender discrimination can be treated less well for being a woman, for being a man, being subjected to stereotypes regarding the genders – for example, discriminating against a woman for having a familial responsibility and assuming that, because she's a woman, she will be taken by that responsibility, or discriminating against a man and assuming that he will not have certain responsibilities because he is not the primary caretaker or caregiver.

A form of gender discrimination is harassing or otherwise making gender based comments to women who disclose their pregnancy in the workplace, whether women reveal that they are pregnant and they would need time off in the future or whether they're not allowed to return back to work after they have had a child. These are the kinds of situations where individuals – women specifically – are being harassed for their gender in the workplace.

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Gender discrimination in the workplace may take many forms, but it generally involves treating a worker or job applicant unfavorably due to their gender. It may hold back very qualified job applicants and prevent employees from attaining their highest levels of performance. It may be directed toward people of either sex or of any gender identity or sexuality. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City gender discrimination lawyers handle claims arising out of misconduct in the workplace. Watch the video on this page and read the information below to understand these claims more fully.

What is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?

Gender discrimination involves treating employees or prospective employees differently due to their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The different treatment may occur in the context of hiring, firing, promotion, pay, benefits, or job classifications. This form of discrimination is prohibited under federal, state, and local laws.

Although gender and sex are used interchangeably, gender discrimination refers to traits that are culturally associated with male or female identity, while sex refers to anatomical identity. Gender discrimination may occur, for example, when a worker identifies as transgender, and their supervisor permits the worker to be harassed by coworkers due to this identification. Similarly, gender discrimination might occur when a qualified employee is not promoted to a management position because they are gay, and the supervisor has stereotypes about gay people. Firing an employee because of their gender transition would also constitute gender discrimination.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides a federal prohibition against gender and sex discrimination. It does not expressly include language to protect people of other gender identities or sexual orientations. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has included gender identity and sexual orientation as protected characteristics encompassed by the prohibition against sex discrimination. Many court decisions also support the EEOC’s interpretation of Title VII. Federal law also explicitly prohibits pregnancy discrimination, which is considered a form of sex discrimination.

New York and New York City laws also prohibit gender discrimination. They apply to smaller employers and provide more expansive protections. Under the Human Rights Law, it is expressly illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of their sex or sexual orientation. The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.

It is also illegal to discriminate based on a worker's pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition. Employers that are covered need to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers' needs.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex or gender discrimination that is also prohibited. Like discrimination generally, sexual harassment may be either quid pro quo harassment or hostile workplace harassment. The broader term "sexual harassment" is considered to encompass harassment of the LGBTQ community.

Discuss Your Gender Discrimination Case with a New York City Lawyer

If you have faced problems at work due to your gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or pregnancy, and you have been wondering what gender discrimination is in the workplace, you should consult a sexual harassment lawyer about your particular situation. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City gender discrimination attorneys fight tenaciously for workers who have suffered harm as a result of discrimination. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form to set up a free appointment. We fight gender discrimination in Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Westchester, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties.