Title VII prohibits gender discrimination, which occurs when an applicant or employee is treated unfavorably because of that person’s sex. A person’s gender cannot play a role in any aspect of employment, including hiring, salary, promotions, job assignments, fringe benefits, transfers, disciplinary action, suspensions and termination. Additionally, gender discrimination can involve being treated less favorably because of his or her connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain sex.
An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of gender, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a certain gender and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business. Title VII prohibits discrimination against men and women and allows claim no matter what gender the employer/employee is. This allows for an individual to have a claim if the employee and the employer are both of the same gender.
Additionally, Congress has passed anti-discrimination laws to protect pregnant women in the workplace. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not entitle pregnant women to special treatment, but it does enforce pregnant women being treated equally to non-pregnant individuals. The Family and Medical Leave Act also allows employees certain rights if you need a leave of absence for your pregnancy, the birth of your child, or for other serious injuries to you or members of your immediate family.
Gender discrimination also includes sexual harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. For more information about sexual harassment, see our sexual harassment page.