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Ochoa & Calderon

Sex Discrimination Signs: Are You a Victim?

sex discrimination at work

California and federal law prohibit sex discrimination in the workplace. Sex discrimination includes both discrimination in treatment as well as sexual harassment. Sex discrimination includes discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sex discrimination is not always easy to detect, however. It can be subtle, insidious, and company-wide. Below, we discuss several ways in which subtle sex discrimination may be taking place at your company. If you believe you’ve witnessed or been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, contact a zealous Southern California employment law attorney for help.

Disparate Pay

Unequal pay is the quintessential form of sex and gender discrimination. If you find out that you are receiving less pay than your male counterparts, or that there is a pattern of paying employees less for the same job tasks based on their sex, gender, or gender identity, then your company may be engaging in sex discrimination.

It’s important to look beyond nominal titles when considering whether such a pay disparity exists. If you are performing substantially the same tasks with the same level of responsibility as your male counterpart, even if they are given a different title, you deserve the same pay. Granting female employees and male employees different titles for the same work is a classic technique for justifying unlawful pay disparities.

Disparate Hiring or Promotions

You may also become aware of an unusual trend in hiring or promotions. If you notice a wide disparity in the number of interviews granted to applicants by gender, or that all of the promotions seem to be filled by men, then the company may be engaging in subtle sex discrimination.

One way to identify subtle, systemic discrimination is to look at the higher-ups in the company. If there is a heavy disparity based on gender–90% or more of the executives or c-suite are men, for example–there may be systemic sex or gender discrimination.

Disparate Treatment of Misconduct

It can be difficult to identify sex discrimination in the workplace for many reasons. Even if you witness more women being fired or passed over for promotions, for example, the company may try to justify such actions by pointing to performance reviews and punishments for misconduct. Even these can be skewed by sex or gender, however.

A study of the financial services industry published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2017, for example, found a significant gender bias in how workplace misconduct was handled. Female employees were 20% more likely to be fired following misconduct (and 30% less likely to find new jobs) as compared to males in the same industry, despite engaging in conduct that was 20% less costly for the companies and a much lower propensity toward repeated misconduct.

If you have found yourself subjected to much harsher penalties than your male counterparts for the same conduct, you might be the victim of sex discrimination.

Skewed Dress Codes and Appearance Policies

Many workplaces engage in discrimination by having strict policies that apply only to one gender. If your employer has a multi-page policy regarding how women must dress, style their hair, or otherwise present themselves, with little or no standards for how men should dress, they could be engaged in subtle discrimination. A policy that requires women to wear makeup, for example, but not men, would be discriminatory.

Other Examples of Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination can take many forms. Any conduct that deprives you of the same advantages and benefits of employment based on your sex, gender, or gender identity might constitute discrimination. Treatment that makes your job harder than it needs to be, or harder than that of your counterparts of a different sex, may constitute discrimination.

Examples of sex discrimination can include:

  • Excluding you from company events that members of the opposite sex are invited to
  • Getting less support from supervisors than coworkers of the opposite sex
  • Being treated as less competent than coworkers because of sex
  • Jokes about your appearance, your competence, or that otherwise are targeted at your sex
  • Being assigned fewer assignments or less important assignments than coworkers of the opposite sex
  • Being demoted, passed up for a promotion, or transferred to a less desirable position based on your sex

Contact a Dedicated Employment Law Attorney For Help With a Sex or Gender Discrimination Claim in Southern California

For help protecting yourself and recovering compensation after experiencing workplace discrimination in Southern California, call Ochoa & Calderón to discuss your case with a thorough, diligent California labor and employment attorney. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.

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