Discrimination against an employee or prospective employee because of his or her gender is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The protections of Title VII apply to many aspects of employment, including: hiring, firing, promotion, benefits, wages, and training. It also protects Austin employees from being discriminated against based on stereotypes associated with a particular gender.
Although the provisions of this federal statute are sometimes fairly broad, Title VII does specifically outlaw two type of sex-based discrimination:
- Sexual Harassment
- Pregnancy Discrimination
Furthermore, Title VII also prohibits the implementation of “neutral” policies which have the effect of discriminating based on gender, even if the policy itself is not explicitly discriminatory. A company rule which limits hair length, for example, may be construed to be discriminatory against women, who are more likely to have long hair than men.
The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) represents a legislative attempt to equalize the persistent disparity between the wages paid to men and women. Under the EPA, it is illegal for an employer to pay male and female employees different wages for performing tasks which are substantially similar, unless the pay difference is the result of a consistent seniority system.
It is also important to note that the EPA does not permit employers to lower wages to meet the EPA’s standard of equality; that is, if a given male employee makes more than a female employee who is doing the same job, the employer must raise the wage paid to the female employee until it is identical to the male employee’s wages.
The success of the EPA and other anti-gender discrimination laws has been mixed. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolves tens of thousands of gender discrimination disputes each year, statistics show that a significant difference in the wages of men and women still exists, though the imbalance has been reduced over time.
Your Legal Right
Federal law allows employees to take legal action against employers who have discriminated against them on the basis of gender or sex. If you have been mistreated solely because of your gender, contact Austin gender discrimination lawyer Andrew Traub today.