What is Sex Discrimination?

Sex discrimination is basically being treated differently than similarly situated people based on your sex or gender. Most claims based on sex discrimination are garden variety cases where the claim is that he/she was fired or not hired or denied a promotion because of his/her sex. In such cases, the plaintiff must prove intentional discrimination, which is usually proven by demonstrating that he/she was treated differently than members of the non-protected class. The standards of proof of intentional discrimination and the types of actions which have been held to be discriminatory are applicable generally to all claims. Therefore, case law regarding race discrimination will be applicable to gender discrimination cases or cases involving national origin.

It is an unlawful employment practice to classify a particular job as “male” or “female” either in advertising or in actual practice. Thus, employers and employment agencies may not run help-wanted ads under separate male and female headings. Nor may they recruit exclusively males or females for particular vacancies unless sex is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position. Discrimination based on sex is valid only when the essence of the business operation would be undermined by not hiring members of one sex exclusively. Challenges to this bona fide occupational qualification are why we have male stewardesses on airplanes today, so sex discrimination is not an exclusively male or female claim. However, the relegation of female employees to lower-level or lower-paying job classifications than similarly situated male employees may not be based on stereotyped assumptions concerning what is “female work” and “male work.” Such intentional job segregation constitutes a violation of Title VII.

Potential damages may include: lost wages; lost benefits; front pay; compensatory damages, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, or inconvenience; and punitive damages. Although these categories of damages are available under the discrimination laws, they may not all be applicable to your individual case.

If you believe that your employer has treated you wrongly, call me at (912) 244-3999 to schedule an initial consultation so we can sit down and talk about the facts of your case and so that I can give you my opinion about whether or not you have a case.