On-the-Job Discrimination: Gender Discrimination
Gender-based discrimination is prohibited by Title VII. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, in combination with the Civil Rights Act of 1991, serves to protect the rights of various groups of people from discrimination in the workplace based on membership in a protected category. Gender is a protected category. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 clarified the scope of protection and remedies available to victims of discrimination. Several federal agencies work closely with state governments and employers to prevent discrimination in the workplace. These include the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Under federal law it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee or potential employee on the basis of gender. Gender discrimination applies not only to females, but also applies to males.
- The ban on discrimination applies to hiring and firing practices, as well as promotion, pay, job training or any other term, condition or privilege of employment.
- Protected Categories are groups of persons with characteristics in common, such as race, sex or nationality, that Congress has decided must be protected from discriminatory practices. Congress generally bases this determination on a history of discrimination.
- Classification refers to the practice of coding applications for employment on the basis of gender. While this practice is not prohibited under the law, it can be used as evidence against the employer when minorities are excluded from employment or from certain positions.
Filing Requirements and Limitations:
- Your claim must first be pre-filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the potentially unlawful action or within 300 days of the unlawful action if your state is a referral jurisdiction state. Tennessee is a referral jurisdiction state. The deadline will not be extended because of internal investigation of the incident within the company.
- A lawsuit must be filed within 90 days of the receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC.
- If you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of gender, it is best to contact an attorney immediately, who will advise you of your rights and duties under the law.
- The federal law that governs gender discrimination, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also known as Title VII, only applies to companies and businesses with 15 or more employees.
Remedies and Damages:
- Back Pay
- This is the most common form of relief.
- It includes the value of wages, salary, and fringe benefits the claimant would have received during the period of discrimination from the date of termination/failure to promote to the date of trial.
- You have a duty to mitigate these damages by taking reasonable efforts to find comparable employment after you have been terminated.
- Compensatory Damages
- Awarded for emotional distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Individual claim caps are placed on this type of damages based on the size of the employer.
- Attorney's Fees
- The court may choose to award attorney's fees to the prevailing, or winning, party.
- Punitive Damages
- These types of damages are limited to cases in which the employer's discrimination is intentional and was done with malice or reckless indifference to the individual's rights. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for its behavior. Therefore, not every case will merit punitive damages.
- Claim caps also apply to these awards.
- Front Pay
- Designed to compensate the victim for anticipated future losses due to the discrimination when the employer refuses to reinstate the employer or the court determines that reinstatement is not feasible.
- Injunctive Relief
- Common examples of injunctive relief include reinstating a terminated employee or ordering the employer to prevent future discrimination.