The Lacy Employment Law firm

The Lacy Employment Law firm

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Practice Areas

Gender Discrimination Attorney: Philadelphia & Pittsburgh 

Are you advancing at your job?  Do you feel like your male coworkers respect you?  Millions of women ask these questions everyday.  Unfortunately, sexism still is a major problem in the workplace.

Women often are labeled as bossy, emotional, or irrational.  These stereotypes started soon after women entered the workforce.  And we’ve been fighting those stereotypes ever since.

Gender discrimination attorneys intervene when someone has been discriminated against based on their gender.  Traditionally, gender discrimination focused on women.  But, today, we are seeing more cases of gender discrimination from different genders.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, hire a gender discrimination attorney.  Gender discrimination attorneys build your case.  They do this by:

  • Performing an initial investigation into the facts;
  • Filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
  • Starting a lawsuit in federal court;
  • Taking discovery in federal court;
  • Negotiating a settlement agreement; and
  • Taking a case to trial.

This short guide provides information regarding your potential gender discrimination.   Being informed is the best way to know which questions to ask.  And to find get the answers needed to hire the right gender discrimination lawyer for your case.  

Federal Law Prohibits Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is arguably the most important piece of legislation in United States history.  Congress created law prohibiting employers from discriminating because of race, national origin, sex, and religion.

Interestingly, the proposed civil rights legislation did not originally include “sex.”  To the contrary, the proposal of prohibiting discrimination based on sex was included to stop the bill from passing. 

The country has long averted seeing women as equals to men.  But since 1964 discrimination based on sex in the workplace is illegal.  

Although Congress meant “sex” to mean male discrimination against females, all discrimination based on sex is illegal.  

Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, employers cannot discriminate based on sex.

If you think that your employer discriminated against because of your gender or sexual orientation, you should contact a sex discrimination attorney.  

Types of Gender Discrimination

Sex discrimination is the category of protections under which gender falls.  Sex discrimination encompasses gender discrimination, sexual-orientation discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Most people commonly refer to “gender discrimination” when they actually mean “sex discrimination.”  You should be aware of the different types of sex discrimination claims.  You might actually have multiple types of sex discrimination claims. 

When we refer to gender discrimination claims we normally are discussing male/female discrimination.  Or we are discussing Female/male discrimination.

To prove any type of gender discrimination case, you have to first make a prima facie case.  A prima facie case means that you are establishing a case.  But your employer can present evidence that your case fails by providing evidence.

Simply, to begin your case, you must provide evidence that:

  • You are male, female, or non-binary (this is the easy one);
  • Your employer knew you are male, female, or non-binary;
  • An act of harm occurred; and
  • Others “similarly situated” were either treated more favorably or not subjected to thee same or similar adverse treatment.

You will make your case with direct or circumstantial evidence.  The more direct the evidence the easier gender discrimination becomes to prove.

Direct evidence mostly consists of comments.  For example, your boss says that he will never promote a women.  Your co-worker and you overhear that comment.  And then he never promotes you.

You would have direct evidence of gender discrimination.  Your boss literally told you his intention and followed through on it.

More often, however, your boss will not say a word.

You will work for years without a promotion.  And, when it comes time for layoffs, you are fired. 

In this case, we would try to prove your case with circumstantial evidence.  Circumstantial evidence are pieces of indirect evidence.  Each piece individually does not prove discrimination.  But when you put them all together, you will prove your case.

The best piece of circumstantial evidence is comparator evidence.   This means that your employer did not treat similarly situated workers like your employer treated you.

For example, you suspect that your boss is sexist.  He fires you.  You sue for gender discrimination.

During the course of the case, you find out that 80% of the workers he fired are women.  This is comparator evidence.

Having the numbers by your side greatly helps to prove your case.  

Sexual Orientation Discrimination 

Civil rights advocates worked for years for courts to recognize that discriminating against sexual orientation in the workplace violates the federal law.  For years, courts disagreed whether Title VII recognizes sexual orientation.

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court delivered a decisive victory to employee rights lawyers and civil rights activists. 

Plaintiff, Gerald Bostock, sues Clayton County Georgia. Information from Gender Discrimination Attorney 

The Plaintiff, Gerald Bostock, sued Clayton County Georgia.  He received stellar performance reviews during his time working as a child services coordinator. 

In 2013, Mr. Bostock decided to play in a gay recreational softball league.  His job found out, openly criticized him for participating in this league,  and made disparaging comments regarding his sexual orientation.  

Clayton County terminated Mr. Bostock around that time.

This is a blatant example of sexual orientation discrimination.  And, if it wasn’t for Mr. Bostock’s efforts, employers could still openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community.  Even more impressive, Mr. Bostock accomplished this largely without a gender discrimination lawyer. 

Although the Supreme Court has only now officially recognized LGBTQ rights.  Sex discrimination attorneys are prepared to handle these claims.

They follow the same framework gender and other discrimination claims.  We are still looking for direct evidence.  That is, those types of disparaging remarks that Mr. Bostock’s boss made.

And if we cannot find that, we will find circumstantial evidence to prove your case.

Pregnancy Discrimination is a Type of Gender Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) is a federal employment law passed to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy.  Congress passed the PDA in 1978, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).

The PDA expanded Title VII to explicitly include pregnancy in the definition of sex.  The expansion also included discrimination based on childbirth and related medical conditions.  

Pregnancy discrimination tends to be more obvious that other types of employment discrimination.  Firing a pregnant woman never looks good for an employer.  

Otherwise, you should look out for the same types of disparaging comments that colleagues normally make in the workplace.  

You should also pay attention to the circumstantial evidence.  Are you being left out of team meetings?  Is your boss inviting everyone but you out to lunch?

During your pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to signs of being treated differently.  If you see any, document it.  You may need that evidence later. 

Sexual Harassment is a Type of Gender Discrimination

The most well-known subset of sex discrimination is sexual harassment.  

Sexual harassment occurs in two ways.

  1. Harassment that involves a tangible employment action; or
  2. Harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

A tangible employment action is any material change to your employment such as hiring, firing, demotion, promotion, pay raise, the promise of a job benefit, reassignment to a different job.  

Basically, your supervisor or boss tries harasses you based on your sex in exchange for advancement in the company.  This is often in the form of sexual advances.

Or your boss harasses based on your sex, threatening job detriment.

 A hostile work environment is created when the conduct that is:

  • Unwelcome;
  • Based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information;
  • Reasonably offensive; and
  • Severe or pervasive.

You have to prove each of these “elements” to win to establish a hostile work environment claim.

As with other sex discrimination claims, sexual harassment claims are not restricted traditional male/female harassment.

In addition, courts have recognized the following types of sexual harassment:

  • Same-sex harassment; 
  • Pregnancy harassment; and
  • Sexual orientation harassment.

Sexual harassment focuses on the acts, words, creation of a toxic environment, etc. all pointed at an individual.  By contrast, gender discrimination is normally more indirect.  

Someone will fire, demote, fail to promote, reassign you, etc. and you may never find the direct evidence.

Gender Discrimination Settlements

Most gender discrimination cases end in settlement.  A settlement occurs when the employee and employer decide to end the case for a specific dollar amount.  

Both sides acknowledge that it’s better to end the case early rather than dragging the case out through trial.

It’s not uncommon to get a better settlement early in the case.  Your employer has not spent as much money on its attorneys.  And that sometimes leaves more room for settlement.

Employment lawsuits, according to some sources, settle on average for $40,000.00.  This figure, however, does not tell us much.

It does not account for the specific type of employment suit.  Or the region in which the suit was brought.  

For example, a gender discrimination lawsuit usually settles for a higher amount in Philadelphia than in Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia juries tend to be more plaintiff friendly than Pittsburgh juries.  Even though these cities are in the same state, you could have a drastically different outcome depending on where you live. 

Regardless of location, the best way to obtain a higher settlement amount is to hire a diligent lawyer who will pay attention to detail.  

Conclusion

Gender discrimination encompasses more than male on female discrimination.  Rather, there are many different subsets of gender discrimination.  Be on the lookout for:

  • Same-sex discrimination;
  • Pregnancy discrimination; and
  • Sexual-orientation discrimination.

No one should hold you back because of your sex, gender, race, national origin, or any other characteristic.  A diverse workforce composed of people of different backgrounds makes the companies in our country thrive.  

And, when employment discrimination occurs, our country becomes much less inclusive.  And, as a result, productivity also falls.

Do you think you are being held back because of gender or sex discrimination? What are you going to do about it? Will you call a gender discrimination attorney?

We can help you in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

we will review Your Case for Free

Get in touch!

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