Although women have made clear they have the ability to perform with the same skill and success in every endeavor engaged in by men, the issue of sex discrimination still holds many back. Sex discrimination, although predominantly an issue for women, can sometimes be directed towards men as well. Below, we answer many of the questions that commonly arise with respect to this issue. Which federal law covers sex or gender discrimination? Can an employer pay me less because I'm a woman? Can I be paid less because I'm a man? Is it illegal to give different benefits to male and female employees? Can an employer treat me differently because I can or have become pregnant? Can an employer treat me differently because I am unmarried or married? Can an employer treat me differently because I have kids or have to care for a family member? What's the difference between sex discrimination and sexual harassment? My company has an affirmative action plan. How can this affect me? Can my employer make me wear a dress or feminine clothing? Are height, weight, or lifting requirements legal? Is my employer required to allow me to breastfeed on the job? What is the difference between sex discrimination and gender identity discrimination? Sex or gender discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment specifically because an individual is a woman or a man. If you have been rejected for employment, fired, or otherwise harmed in employment because of your sex or gender, then you may have suffered sex or gender discrimination. Discrimination is generally illegal regardless of whether it is based on sex, or gender, or both sex and gender. If any of these things have happened to you on the job, you may have suffered sex or gender discrimination. Sex or gender discrimination may be accompanied by other forms of illegal discrimination as well, such as age , race , or disability discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment are also considered forms of sex discrimination under the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of is a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based upon sex. This law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against individuals in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment, such as promotions, raises, and other job opportunities because of their sex. The laws of most states also make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex. For more information, see question 19 below. Additionally, there are specific laws protecting employees of federal contractors from sex or gender discrimination. Additionally, Executive Order protects employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on compensation inquiries, discussions, or disclosures. For more information of protections specific to employees of federal contractors see our federal contractors page. The U. Explicit protections against compensation discrimination, sexually hostile work environments, discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and discrimination against unlawful sex stereotypes, gender identity, and transgender status are made in the new rule. This new rule further enforces Section of the Rehabilitation Act of These laws make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing businesses with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a veteran.
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