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Sex (Gender) Discrimination and Harassment (Including Sexual Harassment)

Attorneys Fighting Gender Discrimination Across Maine

Gender discrimination is hardly a thing of the past. Recent studies have shown that to this day, women are paid less than men for doing the same job. The Maine Employee Rights Group was founded to fight for the rights of gender discrimination victims. If your employer has engaged in gender-based discrimination or sexual harassment, one of our gender discrimination lawyers can help you protect your rights.

There Are Two Types of Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination is a broad term used to describe two types of unlawful workplace behavior. The first of these involves making decisions that confer an employment benefit solely based on an employee’s gender or sex. Some examples of this type of behavior are refusing to hire a woman, giving a woman a promotion over a man solely because of his gender, or paying women less money than men to do the same job.

The second type of unlawful gender discrimination is sexual harassment. The most common type of sexual harassment is hostile work environment discrimination. This occurs when a co-worker’s or supervisor’s behavior creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment at work. Behavior that interferes with a person’s ability to do his or her job may also create a hostile work environment.

There are plenty of examples of conduct that could create a hostile work environment, including:

  • Unlawful or inappropriate touching;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Sexually charged comments or jokes;
  • Blocking, trapping, or otherwise intimidating movements;
  • Non-sexual but inappropriate comments about gender.

Keep in mind that men can be the victims of sexual harassment, too. Additionally, sexual harassment is not limited to parties of the opposite sex. Men can sexually harass men, and women may harass women. If you are unsure as to whether you have been sexually harassed, ask a knowledgeable attorney.

There is another form of sexual harassment called quid pro quo harassment. Employers can commit quid pro quo harassment if they offer some employment benefit in exchange for a sexual favor or other sexual behavior. Offering a person a job on the condition that he or she sleep with the boss is a classic example of this type of discrimination.

Federal and State Laws Prohibit All Forms of Gender Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits all types of gender discrimination, including sexual harassment. In addition, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that protects pregnant workers. Most employers in the United States are subject to the Civil Rights Act and the PDA.

The Maine Human Rights Act offers workers protections that are similar to the federal laws, including the prohibition of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and pregnancy discrimination. It also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Employees Who Encounter Unlawful Gender Discrimination May Seek Damages

An employee can file a complaint against an employer who commits unlawful gender-based discrimination. After a series of procedural steps, the employee can file a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Civil Rights Act or the Maine Human Rights Act and may be entitled to compensatory damages. The court may order some employers to pay punitive damages if their behavior was especially egregious.

Seek Advice from Experienced Counsel

Facing gender discrimination at work can make any employee want to quit. Fortunately, the law is on their side. For 20 years, the sexual harassment attorneys of the Maine Employee Rights Group have been helping the victims of gender discrimination. If your employer has mistreated you because of your gender, contact one of our attorneys by calling 207.874.0905 or visiting our contact page.

Maine Employment Lawyer Blog - Sexual Harassment