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Coast Employment Law
Serving Employees and Employers in Southern California 714-551-9930 Free Confidential Consultation

Orange County Sex Discrimination Lawyer

Protecting California Workers Against Sex and Gender Discrimination

The Orange County discrimination lawyers at Coast Employment Law have years of experience helping clients who have been the victims of workplace discrimination throughout Southern California.  Discrimination in the workplace occurs whenever an employer treats an employee differently due to their membership in a protected class of people or based on specific immutable characteristics.  Protected categories include those based on race, national origin, disability, gender, pregnancy, or religion.  Employees may not take adverse employment actions against an employee for improper reasons.  Both federal and state laws expressly prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s sex.

If you have experienced sex discrimination at work, or if you are a California employer dealing with allegations of sex or gender discrimination in your office, reach out today for help from a seasoned, effective, and compassionate Orange County discrimination lawyer.

Employees Are Protected By California State and Federal Law

California state and federal law both prohibit discrimination based on sex or gender in the workplace.  Under federal law, employees are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to employers with more than 15 employees.

California also prohibits sex and gender discrimination in the workplace under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  FEHA protects workers against discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, and it applies more broadly than Title VII.  FEHA reaches all employers who have five or more employees.  FEHA’s protections apply to current employees, job applicants, unpaid interns, non-employee contractors, and even volunteers.  California law also protects employees from harassment in the workplace regardless of the number of employees.

What Actions Constitute Sex Discrimination?

Sex discrimination can take many forms.  It can be obvious, such as refusing to hire someone based on their sex or gender, or it can be more oblique and hidden.  Any of the following may constitute sex discrimination:

  • Unequal pay between men and women performing essentially the same job duties, including giving women a lesser title for the same function
  • Refusal to hire a woman (or man) for a particular job without a bona fide occupational reason as to why
  • Denying benefits for sex-specific reasons, such as denying maternity leave
  • Terminating female employees due to “cutbacks” while retaining male employees
  • Limited advancement opportunities for a particular sex
  • Different job responsibilities given to men and women in the same or similar positions
  • Gender-specific dress codes
  • Interview questions that address sex-specific issues, including asking a woman whether she has children or plans to have children
  • Offensive comments or jokes in the workplace
  • Limiting training or other work-related activities, including social engagements, to one gender

If you identify any of the above behavior in your workplace, or if you have other reasons to suspect sex or gender discrimination in your workplace, reach out to a dedicated and knowledgeable Orange County sex discrimination attorney as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and your potential claims.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

California law explicitly prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.  FEHA’s prohibition on workplace discrimination covers sexual orientation, including real or perceived orientation, as well as gender identity and gender expression.  Gender expression refers to a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior and is not necessarily tied to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Federal law is less clear about sexual orientation discrimination.  Title VII refers to sex discrimination but does not explicitly include sexual orientation.  Some federal courts have interpreted “sex” to include gender conformity and sexual orientation, but the law is unclear.  The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument on two consolidated cases concerning federal prohibitions on sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.  The Supreme Court’s decision is expected sometime before the summer of 2020 and will establish federal courts’ interpretation of workplace discrimination law for the near future.

Trusted Advice and Representation From an Orange County Sex Discrimination Lawyer

If you or anyone you know needs legal help pursuing a claim of sex discrimination in the workplace, or if you are a California employer dealing with allegations of sex or gender discrimination in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties, or anywhere in California, reach out to Coast Employment Law at 714-551-9930, or complete the contact form on this website to schedule a free consultation.

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