Sexual Discrimination and the Laws that Protect Employees against It

The early part of the 20th century and onwards was a turnaround in the business sector as this was the time when the US government started enacting and implementing laws that would protect the rights and interests of employees all across the United States. Laws against workplace discrimination that would ensure equal opportunity to all employees, as well as laws that would assure just wages and provision of financial assistance in the event of injuries or illnesses that are work-related are the targets of these laws.

The website of Cary Kane LLP, is right in saying that no employee can be unjustly terminated from work or unjustly treated, whether by his/her employer, manager or co-workers; anyone who believes that he/she is a victim of unfair and unlawful workplace practices can seek protection from the law to bring the perpetrator to justice and seek compensation for whatever damage and/or harm such injustice may have caused him/her.

Laws that prohibit workplace discrimination due to a person’s nationality, color, race, religion, age, genetic information, disability and sex, are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency of the federal government that is tasked to enforce anti-workplace discrimination laws also prohibits an employer or co-employee from resorting to retaliatory acts due to an individual’s decision to report, participate in, and/or oppose discriminatory practices in the workplace.

One illegal practice in the workplace that has earned the attention of the EEOC is sexual harassment. There are different Acts/laws that specifically address this concern; one of these is the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which says that male or female employees who perform equal work, so long as this work requires the same skills, responsibilities and efforts, and is done in the same workplace, ought to receive the same compensation. This law was enacted in 1963.

Another is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which was enacted in 1964, the law that strictly illegalizes any discriminatory and retaliatory acts against any employee; this includes discrimination based on an employee’s gender. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has had a few amendments; two of these are worth mentioning due to their connection to sexual harassment. One amendment, made in 2011, included sex discrimination as being committed through acts of “sex-stereotyping” made against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The other, which was made in 2012, extended the law’s protection to cover gender identity and transgender status. Even pregnant women are protected against workplace and sexual discrimination. This protection is provided by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

These laws, with the others, are meant to establish good relationship, order, fairness and equality in all workplaces. Employees who feel that they have been discriminated in any way can file a complaint against the guilty individual who, by the way, may also be one of their company’s clients.

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