Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace

When men and women go to their jobs day in and day out they expect fair treatment and a decent pay and to be treated like the hardworking individuals they are. When people are discriminated against solely because of their sex, then that person has become a victim of sexual discrimination in the workplace. For sex discrimination to be illegal, it has to involve different treatment that negatively affects the terms or conditions of employment.

Unlawful discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee differently and less favorably because of his or her sex or gender or because the person is affiliated with an organization or group that is associated with a particular sex. Sex discrimination includes treating an employee or an applicant differently based on sex stereotypes or because he or she does not conform to traditional notions of femininity or masculinity. Sex discrimination also includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may also include offensive remarks made about women or men in general.


Examples of Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace

The following examples are provided to help you decide if you are being discriminated against because of your sex. You may still have a claim for sex discrimination if your situation does not conform exactly to any of the examples below and you should call us and let us review your case with you during a free consultation:

  • Hiring
    You apply to a job working in a consulting firm that deals with large high-end businesses and investors. You are qualified and have all the training and skills necessary but a male applicant is hired. You are told they did not choose you because their clients are more familiar with ad more comfortable dealing with male consultants.
  • Condition of Employment
    You want to work for a local roofing contractor and are physically fit and able to dot he work. They have a requirement that all applicants be able to carry a 100 pound load up a ladder and to a roof. Most packets of shingles are only 25-50 pounds so you believe this requirement serves the sole purpose of trying to keep women from applying for the job.
  • Firing
    You are told that you are being let go from you job due to the company needing to deal with cutbacks and restructuring of your department. However, you discover that there are several men in the same position who have kept their jobs and you also discover that there are male employees in the same position as you who have with less seniority that kept their jobs.
  • Promotion
    You work as a sales rep and cashier at a local retail store and have been there for ten years. Despite requests to discuss promotion and more than demonstrating your value as an employee, you are always denied the opportunity to advance. Men with less experience, even ones you trained when they first started with the company, receive promotions instead.
  • Job Classification
    You work for one of the largest manufacturing and warehouse companies in your town and the employees hold several different job classifications. You notice that the low-paying entry level jobs are held by women- some who have been with the company for almost ten years- while the high-paying management jobs are all held by men.
  • Benefits
    You need to take some of your allotted sick days to stay home ad take care of your child who is sick with chickenpox. Your employer gives you a hard time and says you can’t take paid sick days to stay home with your child and wants to dock your pay. However, a male coworker in the same department easily gets permission for take a week off for a vacation.
  • Pay
    You start off at a nice restaurant in town working the position of line cook and after several years of hard work you have worked up to sous chef. After your promotion, a second sous chef is hired. You discover that he has similar training and work experience, and has pretty much the same skill level as you, however you discover he is being paid much more than you.
  • Sexual Harassment
    Your boss is the vice president of the company. He is constantly hugging you, touching you, ad trying to put his arm around you when you talk about work related issues. You have told him you are unformattable and want him to stop doing this. He says, “Maybe I made a mistake hiring you if you are this uptight.” You now fear losing your job if you say anything.
  • Gender Identity
    You apply and are hired for a position within a big company in town. Before starting the job, you tell your new boss that you are in the process of undergoing a gender transition and will be presenting as a woman instead of as a man. Your new boss comes back later and tells you the job is cancelled due to budgets, yet you learn that someone else was hired for the position.

These are just some of the common examples of how sexual discrimination can occur in the workplace. It is by no means an all-inclusive list which is why if you think you may be the victim of discrimination in the workplace because of your sex, you should call us and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.


Strategies for Prevention

Sexual harassment is a gender-neutral offense, at least in theory: Men can sexually harass women, and women can sexually harass men. However, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment claims and charges are brought by women claiming that they were sexually harassed by men. There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the risk of sexual harassment occurring in your workplace:

  • Adopt a clear sexual harassment policy that is enforced.
  • Train employees to recognize and deal with discrimination.
  • Train supervisors and managers in how to treat employees.
  • Monitor your workplace closely for signs of problems.
  • Take all complaints seriously and give them due attention.

To learn more about sexual discrimination in the workplace, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it, contact the experienced sexual harrasment and discrimination attorneys at