How Do You Prove a Sex Discrimination Case?
If you believe that you are a victim of sex discrimination, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer. But in order to prove that you experienced sex discrimination at work, there are a few things that you need to collect known as evidence. The evidence you provide must sway the courts and show that it was more likely than not that your employer subjected you to discrimination. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove your case.
When it comes to employment, employers must only look at an employee’s qualifications and their ability to perform the essential job functions. Focusing on anything may be considered illegal discrimination and gives the employee the right to sue. While most employers do not discriminate and follow the law, some employers still act on antiquated beliefs and have implicit biases of which they may not be aware. So when they make decisions on employment, they discriminate and break the law. Employers need to treat everyone equally. Many laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit discriminating against employees during any stage of the process. Despite these laws meant to protect employees, employers still disregard them – whether the disregard is blatant or otherwise.
But just because you experienced sex discrimination, does not mean that the courts will automatically trust your allegation. It is up to you to collect the necessary evidence to prove that you were subjected to discrimination.
We at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group want to help represent you if you experienced workplace discrimination. We help people in your position every day and answer questions regarding any next moves for the employee as well as any questions regarding how to prove a sex discrimination case. Examples of such questions include:
- How can I prove a gender discrimination lawsuit?
- How can I prove a workplace sex discrimination case?
- How can I win a sex equality case?
- How do you prove employment gender and sex discrimination?
What Is Sex Discrimination?
You may have heard it as gender discrimination, and in everyday conversation they are often used interchangeably, but both have two very different meanings. Social scientists use the term “sex” to refer to a person’s biological anatomy – whether they are XY (male, generally) or XX (female, generally). “Gender” refers to the characteristics that are culturally associated with being a “man” or “woman.”
Sex discrimination then refers to the discrimination of someone’s anatomical appearance. Sex discrimination occurs when individuals are treated differently or unfavorably in their employment specifically because of their sex: whether they are a man or woman. You might have experienced sex discrimination if you were rejected employment, fired, or harmed in any other way because of your sex. An employer cannot discriminate against you for hiring/terminating/promoting, your salary, job classification, assignments/tasks/responsibilities, and benefits. For example, if you are a woman and you were interviewing for a job, it is illegal for your employer to hire a man to fill that position just because you are a woman.
Which Laws Protect Against Sex Discrimination?
The biggest federal law that protects against sex discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act 1964. It’s a federal law that makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate based on sex, and other characteristics like race, color, national origin, and other such things. Under Title VII, private, state, and local employers that employ 15 or more individuals are not allowed to discriminate because of a worker’s sex.
There also exists Executive Order 11246 which protects federal contractors from sex discrimination if they work on over $10,000 in government business for the year. Additionally, Executive order 13665 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against their contractors on things like compensation, disclosures, and discussions.
State laws may also prohibit discrimination based on sex, and may offer further protections. In the state of California, the Department of Fair Employment & Housing enforces laws which prohibit employers from filing a lawsuit against their employer. Under California law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against employees if they have 5 or more employee under their roof.
But you need evidence in order to prove sexual discrimination took place.
How Do I Prove Sexual Discrimination?
There are two ways that you can prove that you are a victim of sexual discrimination in the workplace: with direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.
Direct evidence is the best way to prove that sex discrimination occurred in the workplace and that you were the victim. Direct evidence includes statements by superiors that have a direct consequence on you, and that you belong to a protected class.
For example, during a discussion with you, an employer says that you are not getting the promotion because you are a woman and they want someone that looks like they can fill a leadership role and then hire a man to that position. You then have direct evidence that your sex was the reason for your not getting the job. These statements can be oral or written in letters, memos, or notes of other fashions.
Of course, many employers are smart enough to know that making such statements is illegal and opens them up for a lawsuit. Employers who are aware of the laws but are still sexist will use other discreet ways. In this case, you must use circumstantial evidence to prove that you were a victim of sexual discrimination.
Circumstantial evidence consists of proving that the likelihood that your rights were violated is greater than not. In other words, the evidence must show that it was more likely than not that your employer discriminated against you because of your sex. How does one do this?
An employee must make a prima facie case – “the evidence before a trial is sufficient to prove the case.” You must be able to answer “Yes” to the following four questions/criteria:
- Are you a member of a protected class? A woman is a protected class, for example.
- Were you qualified for the position in question? If the job required that you have certain licenses and experiences, do you meet all of those prerequisites?
- Can you prove that your employer took action against you? You do not have to prove that the action was sex-related, only that you were affected by your employer’s decision. Things that have to do with hiring, promoting, firing, salary, bonus, benefits, et cetera.
- Were you replaced by a person who is not in a protected class? For example, if you are a woman and you were up for a promotion, but instead of you, they chose another white male.
If you can at least prove all of these points, the courts may have to presume that, since because you are a member of protected class, were qualified, that you were affected by your employer’s decision, and were replaced by someone of an unprotected class, that your being a woman was the reason for your employer’s action.
Other circumstantial evidence that may strengthen your case is listed below:
- Can you prove that you were treated differently than others in a similar position than you?
- Did employers or employees make rude/inappropriate/derogatory comments towards women? For example, male employees may have said something sexual about you or another coworker.
- Does your employer have a history of discriminating towards protected groups of people?
If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your sex, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer. We at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group are here to help represent you, and help collect all of the necessary evidence that is required to prove your sex discrimination case. We offer free consultation and a zero-fee guarantee, so there’s no financial obligation or risk on your part!