As a consequence of the leadership change in our nation’s Capitol, a renewed focus on gender equality and more specifically workplace gender equality is emerging. It is anticipated that the new administration, in conjunction with state-level government, will build on the momentum of the Me-Too movement and continue to push for equal treatment of all people in the workplace. The primary tool for enforcing equal treatment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees’ rights.
Title VII protects employees from being discriminated against based on certain protected classes including: race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Under the law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating with regard to any term, condition, or privilege of employment. Specific areas that may give rise to such violations include recruiting, hiring, promoting, transferring, training, disciplining, discharging, assigning work, measuring performance, or providing benefits. Additionally, hiring decisions cannot be made based on stereotypes or assumptions related to any protected characteristic. For example, it would be unlawful for a supervisor to refuse to promote a transgender person to a management position because he believes a transgendered person is unable to be a good leader.
Title VII also protects individuals from harassment or gender violence. severe or pervasive unwelcome harassment is against the law and may also be actionable. If you have suffered from workplace harassment, it is important to notify the perpetrator that you find the behavior offensive and to notify a supervisor. Failure to provide your employer with notice can adversely affect a potential discrimination claim. Illinois also maintains a statute to protect individual rights to be free from gender violence, Illinois Gender Violence Act 740 ILCS 82.
Workplace gender equality is a right of every American. If you believe you are the victim of harassment, discrimination, or gender violence in the workplace and would like to speak to an attorney confidentially, contact the team at McCallister Law Group for a free and private consultation.