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Common Forms of Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

While there have been great strides in the fight for equity, there are still instances where people are treated unfairly due to their gender. Despite laws enacted to level the playing field, sex discrimination is still fairly prevalent in the workplace. If you have been a victim of discrimination based on your gender, understanding your rights is the first step in getting justice.

Common Examples of Sex Discrimination


    • A highly-qualified and experienced female candidate is turned down for a sales position at a company that hires primarily men for the position.
    • Male teachers are routinely denied positions working with young children simply because they are male.


    • Female employees regularly sexually harass a male employee, calling him degrading names and making unwanted sexual advances toward him.
    • A female assistant declines to share a hotel room with her male boss and is passed over for a raise or recieves a negative performance review despite a stellar work record.

Sex discrimination at work comes in all forms. If you feel you have been discriminated against due to your gender, there are laws that will protect you. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prevents discrimination based on sex. This means that it is illegal to treat someone unfavorably in hiring, firing, benefits, compensation and terms of employment simply based upon their sex.

In addition, it is illegal for an employer to assign certain benefits to employees of one sex and not the other. A common example of this is an employer that offers a cash bonus to the wives of their sales executives. Unless this employer also offers the same bonus to the husbands of their female executives, this preferential treatment is illegal.

An employer may not fire you or treat you any differently based on your status as a pregnant woman. Under the law, pregnancy is treated as a temporary disability and the rights of pregnant women are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act as well as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Discrimination Based on Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotyping in the workplace is still prevalent, and you may have a case if you have been discriminated because of them. The perfect example of gender stereotype discrimination is an employer who passes up a married employee for a position that requires frequent travel because he assumes she will want to spend more time with family.

If you believe you have been the victim of sex discrimination in the workplace, contact us to discuss your rights.