New York Gender Discrimination Attorneys Explain Federal and State Laws

Gender discrimination attorneys, like the ones at Leeds Brown, represent men and women in New York and nationwide when they find themselves facing workplace sex discrimination. There are Federal and State laws protecting people from employment discrimination. When an employer violates one of them, the employee victim may be able to file a complaint and collect damages.

There are laws that specifically prohibit gender discrimination. There are also laws that prohibit other kinds of discrimination that affect women more than men and may overlap with gender discrimination. The attorneys at Leeds Brown understand all of the different laws that apply to employment discrimination and can help you navigate a claim under any or all of them.

Our job is to ensure that your case proceeds in a manner that will provide you with the best possible outcome. If you have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, our knowledgeable and dedicated team can assist you to recover monetary damages, reinstatement or other remedies you seek.

Federal Laws Prohibit Gender Discrimination in the Workplace – Title VII

The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) covers all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. The CRA also covers private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees controlling apprenticeship and training. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) oversees, coordinates and enforces the provisions of the CRA. New York employment lawyers know that the first step in a federal sex discrimination case is to file a formal charge with the EEOC

Title VII of the CRA prohibits employment discrimination based on the following characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National origin

Under Title VII, an employer may not discriminate in any aspect of employment because of an individual’s sex or gender. Discrimination is prohibited but often occurs in the following areas:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promoting
  • Compensating
  • Advertising for job
  • Testing
  • Recruiting
  • Fringe benefits
  • Health benefits
  • Retirement plans
  • Transferring
  • Assigning work
  • Disability leave

Under Title VII sexual harassment is an unlawful form of gender discrimination, both quid pro quo, and hostile environment. Title VII also makes it unlawful to retaliate against a person for filing a charge of gender discrimination, opposing gender discrimination or participating in an investigation into sex discrimination. Employment decisions based on assumptions or stereotypes about individuals of a particular gender are also unlawfully discriminatory.

Title VII prohibits intentional discrimination in addition to discrimination that results from the application of seemingly neutral policies and practices.

The Equal Pay Act Prohibits Sex Discrimination

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is another federal law that makes gender discrimination unlawful. The EPA prohibits discrimination by sex when it comes to paying wages or benefits. When men and women perform work of similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer, under similar working conditions, they should receive the same pay. Under this law, an employer may not reduce wages of either gender to equalize pay.

The Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects Women

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that specifically prohibits employment discrimination against women who are or plan to get pregnant. Employers often stereotype pregnant women and presume they are not capable of working hard or they will often be absent from work. Employers may fear that their customers or other employees may not want to work with pregnant women.

However, an employer may not refuse to hire someone because she is pregnant if she can perform the essential functions of the job. The PDA provides protection for women against gender discrimination in hiring, failing to promote and wrongful termination because they are pregnant or may become so in the future.

The EEOC guidelines state “Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.”

For example, if a person is unable to perform her job because of pregnancy, she must be treated in the same manner as any other non-pregnant temporarily disabled employee. If an employer provides benefits to workers on medical leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for those on medical leave for pregnancy-related conditions. Gender discrimination attorneys help workers in NY exercise their rights under the PDA.

State Laws Also Protect Against Gender Discrimination in NY

New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) is the legislation that addresses discrimination in NY. The division of human rights is the administrative body that enforces and oversees NYHRL.

Under this law, it is unlawful for an employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate against someone based on “age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.” New York recently passed the Women’s Equality Agenda which serves to strengthen women’s rights and promote equal treatment in NY.

NYHRL covers employers with 4 or more employees and has more protected classes than federal law. While some of the protected classes are not specific to a particular gender, in reality, they bolster protections for women who most often fall into those categories. For example, familial status under this statute means anyone who is pregnant- always a woman – or has custody or is seeking custody of a child – more often than not, a woman. Also, women are overwhelmingly more likely to be domestic violence victims than men. In New York, sex includes transgender individuals, and it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity.

One of the amendments in the WEA expands NYSHRL so that the sexual discrimination and harassment provisions apply to ALL New York employers, regardless of how many people they employ. The WEA also includes Fair Pay Law Amendments which now require that employers justify pay differentials by a “bona fide factor other than sex.” The original law just required “any factor other than sex.” The new law makes it a bit more difficult for an employer to justify a wage gap between men and women. The Fair Pay Law Amendments also add an element of transparency to make it easier for women to obtain information about other employees’ pay. The amendments also increase the amount of money the victims of discrimination can obtain when violations of the Act are proven willful.

New York Attorneys Can Start Your Claim for Gender Discrimination

If you have experienced any of the following, you may wish to speak to employment discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown. We can help determine the best way for you to proceed to protect yourself and to recover any compensation you deserve. Discrimination actions require administrative paperwork, strict adherence to procedures, and thorough investigations. There are time limits on filing charges, and it is important to move quickly, so you don’t forfeit your rights.

Have you experienced any of the following situations? If so, find out what remedies are available to you.

  • Wrongful termination because you are pregnant
  • Loss of a promotion because of your gender
  • You were not hired because you have children
  • You are earning less money than others who perform the same work
  • Sexual harassment by your co-workers
  • Denial of accommodation for pregnancy-related disability
  • Been left out of important meetings because of your gender
  • Differential treatment because of your sexual orientation

Contact Us

Call gender discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown if you have questions about your employment discrimination claim. Our lawyers have been working for years helping to protect employees in New York and nationwide from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, equal pay violations, pregnancy discrimination and other employment-related issues.

At Leeds Brown we take a hands-on approach to our cases and our team-based system means that our clients get personal and professional attention from passionate, skillful advocates. We may be able to obtain monetary damages, reinstatement to your job, back pay and more.

Remember, there is a “statute of limitations” in which to file claims. We do know how much time you have left on your claim until we speak with you. Time may be of the essence so don’t wait – call now.

Someone is here to take your call 24/7. Contact Leeds Brown today for help with all of your employment discrimination needs at 1-800-585-4658.

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