Sex Discrimination at Work: Experienced Help from an Akron Employment Attorney
Linnen Co., L.P.A. offers experienced legal help to employees throughout Northeastern Ohio. If you feel you may have been discriminated against because of your gender, an employment attorney can help you determine if it is in your best interests to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C §2000e, et seq., makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of the individual’s sex, which includes terminating or refusing to hire or promote someone because of their gender. To establish a claim for sex discrimination, you will need to show that:
- you are a member of a protected class,
- you were subjected to an adverse employment decision,
- you were qualified for the position, and
- you were treated differently than a similarly situated individual outside the protected class.
If your employer offers a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse action, you will be required to show that that the stated reason was pretextual and the real reason behind the adverse action was based on your sex.
Is My Employer Required to Follow Title VII?
Title VII applies to all employers engaged in interstate commerce who employ 15 or more employees working at least 20 weeks in the previous year.
When to File a Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
You must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the alleged discrete act of discrimination. The EEOC will then notify you if it does not intend to pursue the investigation. You will then have 90 days from that notice to file your own civil action with the court.
What Can I Get in a Title VII Lawsuit?
If successful, the court will award back pay and other appropriate relief including reinstatement, promotion, or front pay, if applicable. The court may also award additional damages for future losses, pain and suffering, and attorney’s fees. (These damages are subject to certain limitations.)
The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), 29 U.S.C § 206(d), makes it unlawful for an employer to pay his or her employees unequal wages based on sex. To establish a claim for wage discrimination, you need to show that:
- your employer is paying different wages to employees of opposite sexes,
- for equal work on jobs,
- for which the performance requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and
- which are performed under similar working conditions.
Under the EPA, you are not required to show that your employer had a discriminatory intent. Jobs do not have to be identical to be considered “equal work" under the EPA. Whether a job is substantially equal for purposes of the EPA is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Once you establish all of the foregoing elements, your employer must then prove that the difference in wages is justified under one of the following:
- a seniority system,
- a merit system,
- a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or
- any other factor other than sex.
Is Your Employer Required to Follow the Equal Pay Act?
Yes — all employers are required to follow the EPA.
When to File an Equal Pay Lawsuit
You may file a lawsuit under the EPA against your employer within two years or you may file lawsuit within three years if the discrimination is willful. Each “unequal" paycheck constitutes another cause of action. There is no need to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit in court.
What Can You Get in an Equal Pay Lawsuit?
The court can award back pay, court costs, and attorney’s fees. In some situations, the court can increase your award by an amount equal to your actual damages.
Contact Us for a Confidential Sex Discrimination Case Analysis
To request a confidential analysis by an Akron sex discrimination attorney, you may contact us by email, by completing our confidential Do I Have a Case? form, or by calling us directly at (330) 258-8000.