Skip to Main Content
blog banner

Gender Discrimination

Charlotte Gender Discrimination Lawyer

Gender discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely by their employer on account of their gender. Among other things, employees can be discriminated against on the basis of their gender in employment decisions (e.g., hiring, firing, promotion), workplace rules, compensation, and in the existence of a non-threatening work environment.

If you believe you have faced gender discrimination, please contact our law firm for more information. You might be able to file a discrimination charge and, if necessary, bring a lawsuit for compensation.

Types of Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination usually takes three basic forms. First, an employee can experience gender discrimination when they are treated differently because of their gender. For example, a boss might decide that he doesn’t want any women supervisors, or he might decide to lay off only male employees. This is a classic form of gender discrimination. Any negative workplace action motivated by gender discrimination is illegal under state and federal laws.

However, gender discrimination can also exist when a worker is treated differently for not adhering to certain gender expectations. For example, a boss who refuses to promote a man because he is “too feminine” could have engaged in gender discrimination, also.

Second, an employee can experience gender discrimination when policies exclude or otherwise adversely affect employees on the basis of gender, whether intentional or unintentional. For example, a job requirement that all applicants be able to lift 50 pounds could be discriminatory, because this requirement will adversely affect more women than men. If there is no valid business purpose for the requirement, then it could constitute discrimination.

Third, an employee can experience gender discrimination when they are sexually harassed in the workplace. Sexual harassment takes different forms. One common example is “quid pro quo.” For example, a boss might approach a subordinate and say, “Sleep with me for a promotion” or “If you don’t sleep with me, I’ll fire you.” The employee has to offer sex in exchange for something. This type of bargain is flatly illegal.

However, sexual discrimination can also exist if the workplace is hostile. No quid pro quo is required. A workplace can be hostile when there is too much offensive sexual conduct, such as jokes, slurs, and gestures.

The amount of conduct necessary depends on the circumstances, but it must be either severe or pervasive. One incidence of groping could make a workplace hostile all by itself. However, a stray or random joke probably does not. The law asks what a reasonable employee would find offensive, which means those with thin skins might have to put up with some amount of offensive conduct.

Myths about Gender Discrimination

This is a well-established area of law. Nevertheless, we constantly run into different myths about gender discrimination, such as:

Only women can be victims of gender discrimination

Wrong! Anyone can be a victim. Men can be discriminated against, just as women can be. While it is probably true that more women face gender discrimination than men, the law protects both men and women.

Only a male boss can commit a quid pro quo.

Again, wrong! A man can proposition a man or woman, and a woman can proposition a man or woman.

There has been no sexual harassment unless you were sexually propositioned.

Untrue! A workplace can be hostile without anyone asking for sex. Too many jokes, sexual epithets, remarks, suggestive gestures, or other unwelcome conduct can make a workplace hostile.

You can’t date at work

Also untrue! Sexual harassment law does not prohibit people from dating or even flirting. In fact, welcome conduct is not harassment. Of course, your employer might have policies about dating at work, but those are rules your employer has created. That is not sexual harassment law.

If you have a question, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today to review your situation. Each case is different, and no one benefits by overbroad generalizations like those above.

Have You Faced Discrimination?

Gender discrimination is still prevalent today. If you have been the victim of gender discrimination, we encourage you to contact us. Our lawyers will happily review your case and determine next steps.