Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

KVO.about1aThe Civil Rights Act of 1964, which just had its 50th birthday, protects employees and applicants for employment from being treated worse than others because of their sex – male or female. The Equal Pay Act makes it clear that women must be paid the same as men for the same work and circumstances. Sex discrimination can take on many forms, for instance:

– A woman being denied a job or a promotion because of the employer’s belief that the open job position is “a man’s job” or “better suited for a man.”
– A man being denied a job or a promotion because of the employer’s belief that the open job position “needs a woman’s touch” or a “woman’s approach.”
– An employer having a practice of preferring applicants from a certain all-male or all-female school.
– A supervisor refusing to promote a woman or provide her with some other job-related benefit because she refuses his advances, or gets married (and is no longer available for dating).

Certainly, sex discrimination can also be in the form of a hostile work environment: where an employee is subjected to severe and pervasive harassment of a sexual nature. This could be repeated, unwanted romantic advances from a co-worker or supervisor, a consistently crude, sexual-bantering work environment, or many other circumstances that rise to the level of being an illegal work situation.

When you’re treated differently because of your sex, that’s discrimination. And when you’re harmed by it, it’s illegal. Sometimes the evidence is clear and direct (specific comments) and sometimes it shows up through suspicious circumstances.

And when you’re retaliated against because you complained about sex discrimination, that can be illegal as well.

Examples of some cases the O’Brien Law Firm has handled:

  • Female employees repeatedly subjected to crude sexual remarks and behavior by a manager responsible for processing their sales orders.
  • Female employees who were subjected to regular verbal assaults from the male company owner where male employees were not subjected to any such behavior.
  • A male company owner who takes only the male employees on company retreats and punishes and demeans employees who are mothers for their child-rearing obligations.
  • A female supervisor who refuses to allow a female subordinate to apply for an open promotion opportunity because the subordinate is a single mother, who the supervisor believes will have to take off too much time to take care of her children.

What’s the process if you’ve been discriminated against based on sex?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) LogoFor discrimination cases in Austin, you have to first file a “charge of discrimination.” The O’Brien Law Firm normally files our clients’ charges of discrimination with the San Antonio Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Austin doesn’t have its own EEOC field office because the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division handles much EEOC work under a work-sharing agreement, and they are already based in Austin.) Dallas/Fort Worth-area discrimination cases are filed with the EEOC Dallas District Office. Houston-area cases are filed with the EEOC Houston District Office. You only have the right to file a lawsuit against the employer after the EEOC (or the TWC-CRD) has completed its investigation and issued you a notice giving you the right to sue the employer.

At that point, you usually have 90 days from your receipt of the EEOC notice (60 days from receipt of a TWC-CRD notice) to file your lawsuit. So, don’t wait until you get your right-to-sue notice to start looking for a board-certified employment attorney to help you. Our firm has worked with the San Antonio, Dallas and Houston EEOC investigators on a substantial number of investigations and can be a great asset to leveraging a satisfying result against an employer who is willing to negotiate early to resolve a violation. And if they aren’t – we are ready to use your skill and experience to get you justice in court and hold the employer accountable for the sake of protecting future job applicants and employees like you from the same type of job discrimination.

If you think you may have been discriminated against because of your sex – either in a job decision or by being subjected to a hostile work environment based on sex – call the O’Brien Law Firm NOW at (512) 410-1960, set up a FREE phone consultation or fill out the form below so that we can get to know you and your situation. Your information is confidential and the form submission goes directly to attorney Kerry O’Brien for his review. 

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