Gender discrimination in the workplace is against the law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employees and applicants from discrimination because of their gender, gender identity which includes transgender status or their sexual orientation.
This applies to employers with 15 or more employees and to any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, pay, promotions, training, benefits or other employment conditions.
It is also against the law to harass a person because of his or her gender. Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature or requests for sexual favors.
It isn’t limited to this type of behavior, however. It might include offensive comments about a person’s gender in general as well.
Employees should also be aware that harassment is defined as behavior that is frequent, severe and creates a hostile or offensive work environment. It can also be evident if there is an adverse employment decision as a result, like the victim being fired or demoted.
A harasser can be a man or woman, the victim’s supervisor, co-worker or a business client or customer. The victim and harasser can also be the same gender.
Filing a charge
If employees believe they have been discriminated against at work, they can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. It is a signed statement asserting that the employer engaged in employment discrimination. The EEOC requires that this is filed before the employee can file a job discrimination lawsuit against his or her employer.
Generally, employees have 180 days to file the charge. An experienced attorney can help employees with their questions and provide representation in discrimination matters.