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Do You Need a DC Gender Discrimination Lawyer?
Are you a female employee facing bias because of your gender? Or a male employee facing similar bias?
- As a woman, do you struggle for recognition at work — while the men around you get promoted?
- Have you been asked inappropriate workplace questions based on your gender?
District of Columbia and federal laws — including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — forbid employers from discriminating on the basis of gender in employment decisions regarding hiring, pay, benefits, advancement, transfer, and other workplace concerns. These laws protect both women and men from gender-based discrimination. If you have been terminated, are being paid less, or have missed out on promotions because of your gender, these laws may help you get what you deserve.
People ask us:
The Employment Law Group® law firm in Washington DC is a recognized leader in the field of gender discrimination law and has successfully fought to protect employees’ rights in the workplace. Our attorneys helped to win a $1 million jury award, for instance, for a victim of sexual harassment whose supervisor continued his abuse even after the employee filed a complaint.
In a lawsuit that broke new ground under Maryland law, our firm helped to secure a $650,000 jury award for our client, whose employer had retaliated against her for reporting a colleague’s gender discrimination complaint. We also set important precedents in winning a $466,000 judgment for Marjorie Murtagh Cooke, the first woman to attend a maritime college, in her equal-pay case against the National Transportation Safety Board.
Important statutes in this area of law:
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
Prohibition against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
Prohibition against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; prohibition against retaliation; enforcement by EEOC
Prohibition of sex discrimination
Notable TELG cases in this area of law:
In an unpublished opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the trial court’s decision to take away a favorable jury verdict for three clients of The Employment Law Group.
The United States Court of Federal Claims awarded TELG client Marjorie Murtagh Cooke over $460,000 after finding that her employer, the National Transportation Safety Board, violated the Equal Pay Act.
Jackson v. Edgewood Management
TELG client Donna Jackson won $650,000 in a case that extended “cat’s paw” liability to workplace retaliation cases filed under Maryland state law.
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Remedies available to victims of gender discrimination may include reinstatement in your job; back pay for lost wages; front pay for future lost wages; litigation costs and attorney fees; liquidated damages for certain violations; and other compensatory damages.
As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. While gender discrimination claims may span many different laws, some of the statutes have filing deadlines as short 180 days after an adverse employment action.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Title VII’s protections against gender discrimination?
Like many state laws that are modeled after it, Title VII prohibits employers who employ 15 or more workers from discriminating against employees on the basis of gender in a manner that affects any term or condition of employment. These laws protect both women and men. Sex discrimination can take many forms, such as when a woman is denied a pay raise or promotion because her supervisor thinks she is on the so-called “mommy track;” or when an employee is harassed at work because he doesn’t conform to a gender stereotype; or when a woman is denied a job because the position she applied for is “man’s work.” Gender discrimination can occur against male and female employees, and can be perpetrated by men and women alike. The perpetrator doesn’t need to be a different sex than the victim.
Does Title VII cover discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) employees?
Supreme Court and appellate court opinions have broadened the umbrella of Title VII’s protections by holding that the law prohibits discrimination against an employee simply because their behavior or appearance does not conform to traditional sex or gender stereotypes. Accordingly, in many cases LGBT employees can bring Title VII claims in federal court if their employer subjects them to gender discrimination and, additionally, many state and local laws now provide protection to employees on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Does Title VII cover discrimination against women who become pregnant?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII to provide explicit protection for women against discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions. The law prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring decisions, leave requests, and benefit decisions and requires that pregnant employees be treated the same as other workers.
Is sexual harassment the same thing as sex discrimination, or is it treated separately?
Workplace sexual harassment is generally treated as an aspect of sex discrimination and is unlawful under Title VII — but it is a specialized area of law, requiring distinct legal knowledge. Illegal sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual’s employment.
What about the Equal Pay Act — is that part of Title VII?
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) is a separate statute that generally requires covered employers to provide equal pay to people who perform the same job, regardless of gender. Since the EPA is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the law also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who files a claim under the EPA — or who cooperates with an investigation of such a claim.
Under the EPA, a prevailing employee can receive back pay, interest, attorney fees, and litigation costs. Where the court finds a lack of good faith, an employee can recover back wages in the amount of double the back pay award (called “liquidated damages”). Where the court finds a willful violation of the EPA, the award can extend back pay to cover the prior three years (instead of the normal two years).