Many New Yorkers continue to face gender discrimination in the workplace. An employer’s workplace practices and policies must not discriminate based on gender. Employers may not discriminate at any step of the employment process, from hiring, compensation, promotions, working conditions, and termination. Employers who directly or indirectly promote gender discrimination may be liable under New York and federal laws.
At Lipsky Lowe LLP, we understand how difficult bringing a gender discrimination claim against your employer can be. That’s why our discrimination attorneys always treat our clients with complete confidentiality and empathy. We help our clients to understand all of their legal options and decide the best legal path for them. If you’ve been the victim of gender-based discrimination or harassment in New York City, our lawyers will fight assertively for your rights.
What Constitutes Workplace Gender Discrimination?
New York State and New York City’s human rights laws prevent employers from discriminating based on gender. Additionally, federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Equal Pay Act also legally prohibit discrimination based on gender.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to either refuse to hire a candidate or to terminate the employment of any individual based on their sex. To prove that sex-based discrimination occurred, the plaintiff must prove that his or her employer treated him or her differently based on their gender. The employee must additionally show that the different treatment negatively affected his or her “terms or conditions of employment.”
Local, state and federal laws prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on gender in all aspects of employment, including:
- Hourly or salary compensation
- Employee classification
- Promotions, layoffs, recalls, or demotions
- Testing and recruitment
- Employee use of company facilities
- Access to apprenticeship and training programs
- Fringe benefits such as employee bonuses
- Retirement plans
- Disability leave and benefits
Gender Discrimination During the Hiring Process
An employer cannot legally refuse to hire an employee because of his or her gender. This type of discrimination can be obvious or subtle. For example, an employer could refuse to hire a female sales executive on the premise that many of their customers are more comfortable dealing with men.
Sometimes employers will state that they refused to hire someone due to their gender. In other cases, proving gender-based hiring discrimination may be more challenging. Perhaps six candidates apply, and only one candidate is a woman. If the company hires a man despite the woman being the most qualified, gender discrimination could be at play. The experienced New York gender discrimination attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP know how to gather the facts and evidence necessary to demonstrate gender discrimination. We have a record of success, even in cases in which gender discrimination is more difficult to prove.
Gender As a Condition of Employment
An employer cannot enforce gender-based conditions of employment when the gender-based condition is not necessary for the employment position. For example, a fire department might state that it will only hire candidates who can lift 100 pounds. Such a prohibition may keep women from applying to the position. This employment condition is only legally acceptable if lifting 100 pounds is necessary to carry out firefighting duties.
Promotion Based Gender Discrimination
Employers may not legally promote people based on their gender. Some companies may have a practice or policy of promoting more men than women or vice versa. An example of promotion based discrimination would occur when an employer of a female employee who receives the best employee-of-the-year award and excellent reviews. Despite her skills and recognition, her employer promotes a less-qualified male instead of her. Another example would be a company that routinely promotes more people of a particular gender over others.
Gender-Based Discrimination in Pay
Under the Equal Pay Act, employers cannot legally discriminate based on sex in the payment of wages or benefits. Employees who perform jobs that require equal effort, skill, and responsibility, performed at the same establishment under similar working conditions must receive equal wages, regardless of sex.
There are several ways employers can engage in gender-based pay discrimination. The first and most prominent type of pay based discrimination would involve men of the same experience and skill receiving a higher salary or hourly wage than women with the same knowledge and similar skills. Gender-based pay discrimination could also happen when an employer moves a top-earning female salesperson to a territory with a worse client base and sales potential. If the employer allows a male salesperson who is not as successful in taking over the prime sales location, he or she is likely engaging in gender-based discrimination.
Gender Discrimination in Awarding Employee Benefits
An employer cannot discriminate in awarding employee benefits based on gender. Thus, an employer cannot have a retirement or pension plan that establishes different compulsory or optional retirement ages based on sex. An employer must make the same benefits available to male employees with families to female employees with families. Additionally, employers cannot legally only award benefits to employees deemed to be “heads of the household” or “principal wage earners” as this could discriminate against female employees.
New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
New York State recently signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) that added gender expression and gender identity to New York’s protected classes. Employers may not discriminate based on an employe’s gender identity or expression. GENDA specifically prohibits employers from refusing to employ, hire, or terminate the employment of a person because of that person’s gender identity or expression. The law also prohibits employment agencies from referring or acting upon one person’s application because of that applicant’s gender identity or expression.
Additionally, GENDA prohibits employers and employment agencies from circulating job postings that expressly or indirectly limit or discriminate based on gender identity or expression. Finally, GENDA makes it unlawful for employers to withhold admission or participation in any occupational or work training program based on that person’s gender expression and identity.
Contact Our New York City Gender Discrimination Attorney
Have you experienced gender discrimination as a job applicant or as an employee or former employee? You may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced New York City employment attorneys fight for our client’s rights to compensation. If you’d like to discuss your claim, contact our office today to set up your initial consultation.