Steps to Take If You Are a Victim of Workplace Sex Discrimination
Suffering through sex discriminating can be a very emotional ordeal. The soup of emotions that arise from being the victim of sex discrimination can be enough to cloud your judgment, but it is important to keep a cool head. Justice can and will be served if you take the proper procedure in the eyes of the law. The California Employment Attorneys Group is here to help guide you through every step of the process and provide legal representation if you need it.
Employers must only consider two things when it comes to employees and their employment. Those two factors which an employer must only focus on are the qualifications for the job in question and their ability to perform the essential job function, or those occupational tasks which are required for that job – why that job has to exist in the first place. Considering any other characteristics may be considered illegal discrimination under the law. It is unlawful for an employer to consider things like sex, race, color, religion, country of origin, age, and other such things. Many employers do in fact follow the law and have a diverse cast of employees under their roof. Some employers, however, still hold some negative associations with women and have implicit biases towards them. It was not too long ago that employers could discriminate against women – they could fire them, demote them, and harass them simply because of their sex. In 1964, after decades of protesting and fighting for equal rights, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which made it illegal for employers to discriminate on things like sex and race. Despite the law, some employers still act in a sexist way and illegally make decisions based on sex. If you believe that you have experienced sex discrimination in the workplace, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer. You need to follow the right procedures first to strengthen your case and make it legitimate for the eyes of the court. Do you know what to do if your employer discriminates against you because of your gender?
Here are the steps you should take if you are a victim of sex discrimination in the workplace.
Make a Complaint With Your Human Resources Department
Before you take full legal action against your employer and take them to court, you may first want to extinguish the fires, so to speak, internally; give your employer a chance to rectify their illegal actions.
Filing a complaint with HR creates a record which shows that the employer was made aware of the discrimination and had the opportunity to stop. If the employer continues the discrimination, it will only strengthen your case, because the courts will see that you attempted to take care of this ordeal internally before taking your employer to court.
Here are steps you need to take to file a complaint with HR:
- Make your complaint in writing. Making your complaint in writing creates evidence and a record which shows that you reported the discrimination. In your letter you must write a description of the events that took place, when they occurred, why you believe you were discriminated against, and what emotional/physical sufferings you experienced. In the letter, explicitly state the kind of discrimination you experienced. In this instance, write that you experienced “sex discrimination.”
- Create a record of your meeting. Your HR representative will create a record of everything you talked about, but you don’t want that to be the only record. Email your representative to confirm the meeting and the highlights of the conversation.
- Get legal counsel. Your company likely has access to quality legal counsel on every move they make. There’s no reason that you should go it alone. An attorney can help you through every step of the process, like making sure your initial letter has everything you need for a proper discrimination complaint.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer
If your employer does not stop the discrimination, your next move may be to file a lawsuit against them. But before you can take them to court, you must first file a charge with an employment government agency. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency, and the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) is the state agency; both agencies are available to you if you work in the state of California. The EEOC enforces the Civil Rights Act to every employer across the nation, while the DFEH enforces its anti-discriminatory laws.
Under the EEOC alone you have 180 days to file the charge, but because both state and federal laws protect against discrimination on the same basis, the deadline to file a charge is extended to 300 calendar days from the day you experienced sex discrimination. The two agencies are in a work-sharing agreement, and that means that when you file your charge, an identical copy is made and sent to the other agency. This is known as dual filing and serves to protect your rights under both state and federal law.
The agencies will then launch an investigation and if they determine that your rights were likely violated, you can then request a “right-to-sue” letter. It is recommended that you only request this letter once you and your attorney are ready to take action against your employer. The reason being you only have 90 days to take action from the day you receive the letter.
The California Employment Attorneys Group is here to help if you are asking yourself, “What should I do if I am the victim of gender equality discrimination at work?” We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. Call us today to see what we can do for you!