California Gender Discrimination Attorneys - $1B recovered

California Gender Discrimination Attorneys

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In California, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person based on sex or gender. While there are federal protections against gender discrimination in the workplace, there are also laws that vary by state. California gender discrimination laws are more complex than those in other states, so it is important that workers understand their legal rights.

If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your gender or biological sex, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer and seek compensatory damages. The gender discrimination attorneys at Shegerian & Associates are standing by ready to review your case during a free case evaluation and take legal action on your behalf.

Defining Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

In California, gender discrimination laws protect workers from discrimination on the basis of many different traits. In order to understand who this law covers, it is important to understand the terms used in legislation. California Code 11030 defines the following terms that are relevant to a gender or sex discrimination claim:

  • Biological Sex: This term refers to the biological label assigned to individuals at birth (female, male, intersex, etc.).
  • Gender Identity: This refers to the gender that a person identifies with, regardless of their biological sex (women, man, transgender, gender-fluid, etc.).
  • Gender Expression: Gender expression refers to a person’s gender-related behavior or appearance (styles of dress, speech, etc.).
  • Transgender: Transgender refers to a person whose chosen identity does not match their biological sex.
  • Sex Stereotype: Sex stereotype typically refers to an assumption about a person’s gender or sex based on appearance, behavior, gender expression, gender roles, ability or inability to perform certain tasks, and generalizations.
  • Transitioning: This term refers to the process that a person goes through when the person begins to live as a different gender than the person was previously.

Generally speaking, these legal protections address the two most prominent forms of gender-based discrimination: discrimination against women, and discrimination against sexual minorities. However, men are protected too. That’s the good thing about the laws being as broad as they are: Nobody gets left out.

No matter who you are, if your employer (or prospective employer) discriminates against you on the basis of sex or gender, that is a violation of your rights. When this happens, you should consult with a gender discrimination lawyer to better understand your situation.

Laws Protecting Employees Against Gender Discrimination

Many individuals feel that they are treated unfairly at work, but that does not necessarily mean that they have been discriminated against. When it comes to gender discrimination, there are three specific laws that must be taken into consideration:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The main federal law that addresses sex discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as color, race, religion, and national origin. This law applies to companies with 15 or more employees and protects employees from discrimination in many different areas, including:

  • Hiring and recruiting practices
  • Termination
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Job training programs
  • Disability leave

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act

While federal law does provide some general protections, it is not very comprehensive and lacks specific protections for sexual minorities and women. For this reason, California state law adds deeper protections for sexual discrimination to fill in these gaps, and establishes gender identity and gender expression protections for sexual minorities.

The main state law that concerns discrimination in the workplace is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Additionally, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has issued regulations broadening the scope of this law. Together, they provide the following gender discrimination protections:

  • An expanded definition of “gender identity.”
  • Protections for transitioning employees.
  • A right for employees to be addressed by their preferred gender pronouns.
  • A prohibition against requiring that employees provide documentation of their gender.
  • Restrictions on gendered job duties or dress codes.
  • Protections against sexual harassment and assault

Equal Pay Act of 1963

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is an expansion of Title Vll and ensures that employers do not pay women different wages or salaries than other employees.

Proving Gender Discrimination at Work

While some forms of gender discrimination are obvious, such as a female employee being subjected to disparaging remarks about women by a colleague or supervisor, oftentimes the discrimination is very subtle. For instance, if you’re female and you get passed over for a promotion that you feel you are strongly qualified for in favor of a male colleague, how can you tell whether this decision was based on merit or was the result of discrimination?

Another very common situation is gender pay discrimination. Since most companies keep salary information private, how can you tell if discrimination is occurring? The answer is that often you can’t tell. You need a gender discrimination lawyer to help you figure things out, interpret the situation, and discuss your rights and options. Some of the signs of gender discrimination to look out for include if one sex or gender in the workplace is:

  • Excluded from important meetings
  • Regularly promoted while the other is not
  • Subject to a hostile work environment
  • Asked to wear revealing clothing for a male client
  • Given different work duties than another sex or gender
  • Given sudden changes in job reviews
  • Fired based on their gender or sexual identity
  • Retaliated against for reporting gender discrimination

What To Do If You Experienced Gender Discrimination at Work

If you believe you have experienced gender or sex discrimination at work, you do not have to let it slide. Your gender discrimination attorney can help you take any of all of the following steps:

File a Complaint with the EEOC

Typically, the first step in making an official complaint based on federal laws is to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC then investigates the claims, and has significant enforcement powers of its own if it determines that a violation occurred.

If the EEOC investigates your claim and decides not to pursue an employee’s case, it will issue a “right to sue” notice which gives you permission to file a gender or sex discrimination lawsuit in court.

File a Complaint with the CRD

While both state and federal agencies enforce gender discrimination laws, the state of California typically offers more protections. In order to enforce state laws against gender discrimination, you will also need to file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). These complaint processes are necessary before you and your attorney are issued a “right to sue” notice.

In general, you have three years from the date of the last discriminatory incident to file a claim with the CRD. The department will review the claim and offer mediation services to allow the employee and employer to settle the dispute outside of court.

Filing a Lawsuit Against your Employer

If the dispute cannot be settled, but the department finds evidence of gender discrimination, the department could file a lawsuit against the employer on their behalf. If the department does not find that there was a violation, they will close the case and you will still have the immediate right to file a sex or gender discrimination lawsuit against your employer.

Your gender discrimination attorney will work on your behalf and file your case with the California Superior Court, or in the county where the discrimination occurred. The complaint will list your employer and any other parties who were in violation of discrimination laws. These individuals will then be served complaint papers and have the opportunity to respond. The case may then proceed to litigation or may settle with negotiations outside of court.


  • The types of damages available in a sex or gender discrimination lawsuit will depend on several factors, including how long the discrimination occurred, the extent of the discrimination, and the harm that occurred as a result of it. In general, employees who win their claims may be entitled to monetary damages, punitive damages, and equitable remedies. These include:

    • Front and back pay
    • Higher income from a raise, bonus, or promotion
    • Benefits that were denied to the employee
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress
  • You can prove gender discrimination in California by collecting and organizing evidence pertaining to gender discrimination, such as in compensation or career advancement. This may be in the form of company policies, documentary evidence, etc. To know more about proving gender discrimination, contact and hire a gender discrimination attorney to get you started.

  • Yes. Misgendering includes the act of intentional refusal of acknowledging the preferred pronouns of someone. This also covers acts that assign a gender to someone which the same person does not identify with.

  • Quid pro quo harassment refers to job benefits that can be received by submitting oneself to unwelcome sexual advances. Only a person with authority or moral ascendancy to grant or withhold job benefits can be liable for quid pro quo harassment.

  • Gender-based harassment comes in many forms, but a primary example of it is when job applications are biased based on gender. As early as the hiring process all the way to termination, gender discrimination and harassment may ensue.


Let Shegerian & Associates Help You Understand Your Rights

When it comes to the law, there’s a lot to understand about gender discrimination. It can be difficult, intimidating, and damaging to your career to try and pursue resolution on your own. In these cases, you need qualified legal representation by sexual discrimination lawyers.

At Shegerian & Associates, our gender discrimination lawyers have many years of experience standing up for the rights of our clients. Contact us today to discuss your rights and learn your options. The consultation is free. In fact, all of our services are free unless we win a cash verdict or settlement in your favor.

Don’t settle for being the victim of discrimination. Let Shegerian & Associates help you get a resolution.

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