If gender-based discrimination occurs, it commonly arises in the employment context. Gender-based stereotypes that affect the terms and conditions of employment are impermissible and violate the civil rights of the individual who suffered the discrimination. Employers with a pattern of making hiring decisions based on the sex of the employee are engaging in discriminatory conduct. Some examples include refusal to hire males in child care positions, only hiring women secretaries and receptionists, not promoting women to managerial positions and unequal pay between men and women for performing the same job.

TIP: An employer should never inquire of a woman, in a pre-employment interview, if she has a boyfriend, is engaged or married. Those questions may indicate an intention to factor in the information in a hiring decision. Questions regarding plans to have children are particularly objectionable in this context.

I am a woman with preschool children and was passed over for a promotion in favor of similarly situated male. He also has small children. Is this gender discrimination?

Yes, if your employer believes you should not or could not take on larger or different job duties because you need to be at home with your children. That belief, when factored into an employment situation, results in sex discrimination and violates your civil rights.

How do I bring a claim of gender or sex discrimination?

You must file a complaint with the EEOC or your local human resources agency within 180 days of the discriminatory incident. In the case of sex discrimination in employment, the incident is typically a hiring, firing, promotion or wage decision that affected the terms of your employment.

If I file a complaint, will I lose my job?

It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for exerting your rights by filing a complaint. If this happens, immediately amend your original complaint to include the retaliation and notify the EEOC or agency with whom you have filed by letter that you have lost your job.

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