Gender Discrimination Laws & Employer Obligations

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  • 0:03 Workplace Gender…
  • 0:22 Gender Discrimination Laws
  • 5:00 Employer Obligations
  • 6:18 Case of Gender Discrimination
  • 7:05 Positive Gender…
  • 7:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Mercado

I completed my BA in Criminal Justice in 2015. Currently working on my MS in Homeland Security Management.

There are specific laws meant to prevent gender discrimination. Employers have certain obligations in order to conform to these laws. In this lesson, learn what these laws entail and what obligations employers have to meet these laws' requirements.

Workplace Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination in a place of employment occurs when an individual is treated in an undesirable and limiting way, based on gender. An individual who is experiencing gender discrimination will receive treatment not equal to what others of the opposite gender are receiving.

Gender Discrimination Laws

Civil Rights Act: Title VII: The Title VII of the Civil Rights act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on gender. Situations such as hiring and firing, compensation, layoffs, transfers and promotions, job advertisements and recruitment, facility use, pay, retirement, leave, and benefits are all covered under this act. If any violation of this act occurs, a claim must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) within 180 days of the incident.

An example of a violation would be a company conducting wide layoffs targeting women holding higher positions.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act: This act makes it unlawful for creditors to discriminate based on gender. Creditors can't take into account gender when assessing credit applications, granting credit, and assessing income.

An example of this type of violation would be a loan officer who denies the credit application of a young woman with better than average credit but approves the application of a young man with lesser credit.

Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act protects individuals from being discriminated on the basis of gender. Individuals can't be discriminated against when renting, selling or purchasing property. Examples of violations with regard to gender include: unwillingness to enter into house negotiations, denying the opportunity to rent or buy a house, and refusing to offer a mortgage loan.

Example of violation: A landlord denies an application to rent his three bedroom apartment simply because he doesn't want a woman as a tenant.

Equal Pay Act: This act makes it unlawful for employers to pay one gender less than the other when the work is equal in difficulty, skill, and responsibility. If factors such as seniority, merit system, or quality production are present, it would not be considered discrimination if one gender is paid more than the other for similar job.

An example of this type of violation would be if a woman with more job experience learns she is getting paid less than a male coworker who is doing the same job with less job experience.

Family and Medical Leave Act: The purpose of this act is designed to protect both genders. The act allows employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave to allow for recovery from medical conditions, which includes giving birth. Both genders can take leave without risk of losing their job when they return. This is available to all eligible employees which is based on number of employees in the workplace and the amount of time an employee has been with the company. The twelve-week leave is not only for births but available for other personal medical issues or to be able to care for ailing family members. This act builds on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in order to cover a wider area of discrimination.

An example of a violation of this act would be if a woman, having been with the company for over a year, loses her job two weeks after giving birth while on maternity leave.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act: This act protects women from being discriminated against due to becoming pregnant. Areas covered would be the hiring and firing process, pay, job opportunities, promotions, layoffs, training opportunities, benefits, leave, and health insurance. If other company benefits are offered, they would also be covered under this act.

Example of a violation in this regard would be if a promotion is withdrawn from a woman after she discovers she is pregnant, even though two weeks prior, she was informed the promotion was hers.

Title IX of Education Amendments: This act makes it illegal to discriminate based on gender with regard to federally-funded education programs, such as colleges and universities. Under this act, it is also illegal to use gender as a determining factor in offering financial assistance. Training and education programs funded by other federal agencies, besides the government, are also covered under this act.

An example of a violation in regards to this would be if a male receives less financial assistance than a female peer because the school is predominantly female.

U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 - Civil Rights: This act is general in its coverage of gender discrimination. It covers any activity or program funded by federal money. This could be through a federal job, receiving benefits, or obtaining a license or certification.

An example of a violation of this code would be if males in Orange County began experiencing a higher fail rate for driver license retrieval. The administrator believed that males caused more traffic accidents.

Employer Obligations

Employers are legally required to ensure potential employees and present employees are not discriminated against because of their sex. If employers do not endeavor to prevent gender discrimination in all aspects of their workforce and policies, they can be held legally responsible. Employers are required to incorporate an equal opportunity policy within their guidelines. This policy not only helps outline unacceptable and acceptable behavior in the workplace but provides insight on what rights employees have should violations occur.

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