What Laws Protect Women in the Workplace? | Bantle & Levy



What Laws Protect Women in the Workplace?

Federal, state, and local laws protect employees from discrimination and harassment, regardless of their gender or sex. However, while anyone can face discrimination for their sex or gender, studies show that more women report feeling discriminated against at work. Of course, many women may also face more than one type of discrimination, such as experiencing race or age discrimination on top of being targeted for being a woman. It’s important for women to know what rights they have in the workplace and the various laws that are intended to help protect them from this treatment.

At Bantle & Levy, we know how important it is to understand your employee rights and can help if you believe you’re being treated unfairly for your membership in a protected class. Here are several important laws that protect women in the workplace.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is applicable to employers with 15 or more employees. Under Title VII, it is illegal to discriminate against employees based on several protected classes, including sex. This also includes a person’s sex, including the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. Title VII makes it unlawful to harass someone due to their sex, which includes sexual harassment.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

While learning that you’re expecting a child should be an exciting time, some employees may worry about the treatment they’ll face at work because of this. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment of Title VII, prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. This covers pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to the two.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963

The Equal Pay Act of 1963, an amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibits wage discrimination based on sex. This requires that employees receive equal pay for equal work. However, “equal work” under the Equal Pay Act doesn’t mean that employers need to do identical work to receive the same pay. Instead, the work must be “closely related” or “very much alike” and minor differences don’t make the work unequal.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year under certain circumstances. The FMLA covers the birth and care of a newborn child and the placement of a child for foster care or adoption. Employees can also take leave under the FMLA to care for a sick child and other immediate family members. When an employee takes FMLA leave, their job is protected, their employer must continue their health insurance coverage, and employees can’t be discriminated against for using this time.

The New York State Human Rights Law

The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits employment discrimination based on various protected classes, including gender identity, sex, familial status, and marital status. The NYSHRL also makes discriminatory harassment illegal. This applies to all employers in New York regardless of how many employees they have.

The New York City Human Rights Law

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibits employment discrimination based on many protected classes, including gender, gender identity, and pregnancy. The NYCHRL also prohibits sexual harassment and other forms of discriminatory harassment. This applies to New York City employers with four or more employees.

New York City Employment Lawyers Who Can Help

Sex discrimination is among one of the most commonly reported forms of discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Your sex or gender has no effect on your abilities in the workplace, but all too many employees experience this at some point in their careers. If you feel that you’ve been discriminated against, don’t hesitate to contact Bantle & Levy.

Contact our gender discrimination today to learn more about how we can help.

Bantle & Levy
Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.


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