Overview: Title VII as well as various state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on sex or gender. Accordingly, an employer should avoid making employment decisions based solely on gender as well as apply all workplace policies in a gender-neutral manner. This means that employers should use the same criteria to evaluate employee performance as well as provide both men and women with equal opportunity in hiring and advancement. Employers should develop a zero tolerance policy for gender discrimination and make sure to provide training to all employees and supervisors.
Further, employers should avoid engaging in unlawful sex stereotyping as well as treating men and women differently based on pregnancy, family and medical leave or caregiving responsibilities. Employers need to understand that the prohibition against sex discrimination not only applies to women, but also prohibits employee discrimination against men. It pertains to any discrimination that is based on an individual's gender and also prohibits sexual harassment.
Trends: Employers should be aware that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has been introduced in the US Congress. It would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women unless it would cause undue hardship for the employer. Further, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers are already obligated to provide reasonable breaks for mothers to express milk for up to one year after the child's birth.
Employers should also know that the EEOC has been aggressively pursuing sex discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC has been extremely successful in bringing class action lawsuits based on sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Further, in the landmark case of Macy v. Holder, EEOC No. 0120120821, the EEOC held that claims of discrimination based on gender identity, change of sex, sex stereotyping, and transgender status constitute sex discrimination. Additionally, the EEOC remains committed to providing for equal pay in the workplace.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
The 5th Circuit unanimously reversed a well-publicized lower court's ruling in a sex discrimination case and held for the first time that lactation is related to pregnancy and, therefore, covered by Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). See EEOC v. Houston Funding II, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10933.
A sales representative has filed a class action lawsuit against her employer, Merck & Co., seeking $100 million in damages for discrimination against female employees with respect to compensation and promotion opportunities.
The Kentucky Wage Discrimination Because of Sex poster, mandated by the Kentucky Department of Labor, is required by all employers.
Employers in two EEOC cases were sanctioned by federal courts for destroying evidence. These cases illustrate the need for employers to implement document retention programs to preserve their company information and avoid litigation sanctions.
Governor Susana Martinez signed the Fair Pay for Women Act, which prohibits wage discrimination based on an employee's sex. The Act also protects from retaliation those employees who assert any claims or rights under the law, or who assist another person in doing so.
Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking can impact the health, productivity and performance of victims, resulting in a loss for employers of those victims. To help prevent these issues from negatively affecting the workplace, there has been significant movement at both state and federal levels to increase protections for victims.
When an employee announces her pregnancy, a prudent employer should proceed cautiously because a bumpy road lies ahead as legislators and policymakers at the state and federal level push for greater protection for pregnant employees. In fact, some states have already passed legislation that goes beyond federal requirements
Arizona employers take note - the Phoenix City Council has passed a measure prohibiting employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender individuals, as well as individuals with disabilities. The Ordinance G-5780 goes into effect on March 26, 2013. It applies to all employers within Phoenix city limits with at least one worker.
XpertHR's Transportation Resource Center for HR: Discrimination and Harassment helps transportation industry employers handle their most vexing employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
XpertHR provides up-to-date guidance for California employers regarding the implications of two recent decisions by state courts of appeals. California employers can use the information presented to shore up their termination and internal investigation practices.
HR Guidance on addressing sex discrimination in the workplace and ensuring equal opportunity for employees and applicants of both genders.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site