Do I Have a Gender Discrimination Case Under California Law?

In California, there are several employment laws that assure protection against gender discrimination. Some employers go a step further and make additional internal policies against gender bias and other forms of discrimination. Unfortunately, even after all this, gender discrimination still happens in the workplace across industries and tends to mostly affect women employees.

According to a survey, over 40% of working women in the U.S. report facing discrimination on the job because of their gender.

The worst thing about gender discrimination is that it can happen in such a subtle manner you don’t even realize you are being discriminated against.

In this post, we will define gender discrimination and review some of the state laws often associated with it. We will also discuss how to pursue a gender discrimination case under California law so you can fight for your rights.

What Is Gender Discrimination?

Gender discrimination is the unfair treatment or prejudice against individuals due to their gender or gender identity. It occurs when an individual is treated differently or less favorably in employment, education, housing, or other areas of public life because of gender.

At the workplace, gender discrimination can take many forms, including denying job opportunities, promotions, or equal pay; making inappropriate comments or jokes; and creating a hostile work environment.

In many jurisdictions, including the state of California, gender discrimination is illegal irrespective of whether or not the victim or perpetrator is of the same or opposite sex. Individuals who experience gender discrimination have the legal right to take action against it.

Some Examples Indicating Your Employer May Be Practicing Gender Discrimination 

Some employees don’t realize their employer is discriminating against them based on their gender, and it may go on for a long time. It’s important to learn how to recognize discrimination in order to protect yourself. There are several things that happen routinely in your workplace that indicate the existence of discrimination.

Here are some examples of employer practices that may be considered gender discrimination:

Difference in Pay

If your employer pays male employees more than female employees for the same job, this indicates that gender discrimination exists in your workplace.

Different Hiring Practices

If your employer implements a different set of policies when interviewing and hiring male job applicants than when interviewing and hiring female job applicants, it can qualify as gender discrimination.

Denial of Promotion Opportunities

If you notice your employer promotes female employees more frequently or more quickly than male employees, it can be a sign of gender discrimination against male employees.

Different Job Requirements

According to California law, every gender working under the same job title must have similar job requirements. For instance, if a female supervisor is required to complete certain reports, but a male supervisor is not, it signifies a difference in the job description and, therefore, workplace discrimination based on gender stereotypes.

Pregnancy Discrimination

If pregnant employees are treated differently than other employees or the employer denies them reasonable accommodations, such as time off or modified duties, it indicates pregnant employees are being discriminated against. (Read – What Rights Do Pregnant Women Have at Work in California?)

Some other examples of gender discrimination can overlap with sexual assault and harassment like unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature, and so on.

What Laws Are Associated With Gender Discrimination in California?

In California, several federal and state gender discrimination laws prohibit employers from practicing gender discrimination. By learning more about these gender and sex discrimination laws, you can better determine if you are being discriminated against by your employer.

  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

FEHA is a state law that prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment and housing on the basis of several protected characteristics. These include age (40 and over), ancestry, color, creed, disability, marital status, medical condition, national origin, race, religion, sex (gender identity and gender expression), and sexual orientation. The law applies to employers with five or more employees and covers a broad range of employment practices, including hiring, promotion, pay, and termination.

According to this law, employers cannot physically, mentally, or emotionally harass an employee based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with a disability related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

  • California Equal Pay Act (CEPA)

CEPA is another state law that requires California employers to provide equal pay to employees who perform substantially similar work, regardless of their gender. The act also prohibits retaliation against employees who discuss their pay or file a complaint related to unequal pay.

Under this law, employees who have experienced unequal pay can recover back pay, damages, and attorney’s fees, depending on what they’ve suffered due to the employer’s policies and behavior.

  • California Labor Code

The California Labor Code provides additional protections against gender discrimination in the workplace. For example, Labor Code section 1102.5 prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report violations of the law to a government agency or supervisor.

Labor Code section 6310 also forbids retaliation against employees who file a complaint about unsafe working conditions related to gender-based sexual harassment.

  • Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII is a federal law that applies to employers with 15 or more employees. It prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace, including in hiring, promoting, compensating, and other employment practices.

According to the law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against or harassing employees based on gender, and it requires them to arrange reasonable accommodations for all employees with conditions stemming from pregnancy and childbirth.

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child or to address a severe health condition of their own or a family member, including pregnancy-related conditions.

The act applies to organizations with 50 or more employees and requires employers to provide job protection and continuation of health benefits during the leave.

There are other laws, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and California wage and hour laws, that protect against gender bias in the workplace.

» More: An Overview of California Labor and Employment Laws

Do you believe you have experienced gender discrimination according to any of the laws listed above? If you suspect discrimination, it’s important to reach out to experienced employment law attorneys to assess your situation and determine if you are entitled to compensation.

Call Hershey Law at 310-929-2190 to discuss your case with highly qualified discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles and Orange County. We are a reputable firm that has assisted numerous victims of gender discrimination in getting the justice they deserve.

How to Prove Gender Discrimination

A gender discrimination case can be quite challenging because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. This means you are required to produce sufficient evidence against the offenders to establish your case.

Before we tell you about the elements and the evidence you need to prove your claims, it’s important to understand the forms of gender discrimination in the workplace.

There are two forms of gender discrimination:

Direct Discrimination

When the employer’s discrimination is evident in their actions, it qualifies as direct discrimination. For example, if a male employee with the exact same job duties and with equal work experience as a female employee is paid twice as much.

Subtle Discrimination

Employers are aware of the consequences of discrimination, so sometimes they act in a way that is not as evident as direct discrimination. A good example is if your employer installs a new policy stating that all employees must be able to lift 50 pounds, even though the job doesn’t require any manual labor. Women would be more affected than men by this new policy.

» More: 12 Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Things You Need in Order to Prove a Case of Gender Discrimination

To prove that you are a victim of gender discrimination, you’ll need sufficient evidence that your employer discriminated against you and that you suffered damages as a result. Once you are sure that discrimination exists in your workplace, you can do the following to prove it:

  • Keep a Record of Incidents

Keeping a record of any incidents of gender discrimination can help you establish a pattern of discriminatory behavior. Make sure to document the date, time, and location of the incident, plus the names of any witnesses.

Also, make a note of any comments, actions, or decisions that you believe were discriminatory. This record can be helpful later on if you need to file a complaint or take legal action.

  • Gather Supporting Evidence 

Supporting evidence can be very helpful in proving gender discrimination. Look for any emails, memos, texts, voicemails, performance evaluations, or other documents that show a pattern of discriminatory behavior. Pay attention to any inconsistencies or discrepancies that suggest discrimination.

For example, if you were passed over for a promotion in favor of a less-qualified male colleague, gather evidence that shows the difference in qualifications or job performance between you and the colleague.

  • Let Your Employer Know about the Discriminatory Incidents 

If you believe you have experienced gender discrimination, it is important to report it to your employer’s human resources department. Make sure to document the details of your complaint and any response you receive from your employer.

Follow your employer’s formal complaint process. This can help show that you took the steps to address the issue and that your employer did not take appropriate action.

  • Hire an Attorney

If you are considering legal action, it is important to hire an experienced employment discrimination attorney who can advise you on your rights and help you build a strong case.

An attorney can assess the strength of your case, gather evidence, and represent you in court or in negotiations with your employer.

  • File a Complaint with a Government Agency 

It is possible that your employer ignores your complaint. If you believe that your complaint was not taken seriously, you may want to file a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

These agencies can investigate your claim and may take legal action on your behalf. Make sure to provide as much detail as possible in your complaint and include any supporting evidence you have gathered.

Finding it hard to gather evidence to prove your claim of workplace gender discrimination? Contact Hershey Law. We can provide you with the legal assistance you need to gather sufficient evidence to support your claim.

Remedies for Gender Discrimination

According to California law, victims of gender discrimination are entitled to several remedies provided they prove the discrimination claim. The types of damages you’ve suffered will determine how much compensation you can receive.

Here’s more information on the possible remedies for gender discrimination:

  • Back Pay

If you were unfairly terminated or demoted due to gender discrimination, you might be entitled to back pay. Back pay is the pay you would have received if you had not been terminated or demoted.

  • Reinstatement or Promotion

If you were unfairly terminated or demoted due to gender discrimination, you might be entitled to reinstatement to your former position or to a similar position.

  • Damages for Emotional Distress

The emotional distress you experienced as a result of the discrimination makes you eligible to receive damages. These damages are intended to compensate you for the psychological harm and stress you suffered.

  • Punitive Damages

In some cases, you may be granted punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the employer for particularly poor conduct and to deter them from engaging in such activities in the future.

  • Attorney’s Fee and Costs

If you prevail in a gender discrimination case, you may be able to recover your attorney’s fees and costs for pursuing legal action.

The remedies available to you will depend on the specific facts of your case. If you believe you have been a victim of gender discrimination, it is important to speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney in Los Angeles. 

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace and have been terminated as a result, you may be eligible to receive federal financial assistance. At Hershey Law, our team of professional discrimination lawyers can assist you in applying for financial support while your case is underway. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.

Call us at (818) 722-9665 to schedule a free case evaluation, and learn what you can expect if you decide to pursue legal action.

How Much Is Your Gender Discrimination Case Worth?

Generally, it is advised to consider the worth of your discrimination case before you file a complaint against the employer. When you analyze how much damage you’ve suffered, it can help strengthen your legal strategy and end result.

Discrimination based on gender in the workplace

Here are some of the factors that can influence the value of your case:

  • Severity of the Discrimination

The more severe the discrimination, the greater the potential damages. For example, if you were subjected to ongoing harassment or were terminated due to your gender, you may be entitled to more substantial damages than if you were subjected to only one isolated incident of discrimination.

  • Length of Time the Discrimination Occurred

The longer the discrimination occurred, the higher the potential damages. If you were subjected to discrimination over a period of years, you might be entitled to more substantial damages than if the discrimination occurred over a few days.

  • Amount of Lost Wages

If you lost wages as a result of the discrimination, you might be entitled to recover those lost wages. This can include lost income, as well as lost bonuses, benefits, or other compensation.

» More: Understanding California Wage and Hour Laws

  • Stress of Situation

If you experienced physical and mental stress as a result of the discrimination, you might be entitled to damages for emotional distress. The value of these damages will depend on the severity of the emotional distress you experienced.

It can be difficult to calculate the damages you’ve suffered, and wrong calculations can lead to not receiving everything you lost to discrimination. Contact a law firm with expertise in gender discrimination to help you calculate the damages and seek fair compensation. 

You Deserve Fair Treatment: Let Hershey Law Advocate for You Against Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination can put you in an impossible situation and make you feel mistreated. At Hershey Law, we are fierce advocates for all workers facing discrimination and will fight for your rights. We can assist you throughout the entire process, from filing a complaint to gathering evidence and representing you in court.

Book your free consultation with the most reputable gender discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles and Orange County and get the outcome you deserve.