Gender Discrimination Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
Fighting for Employees in South Florida Since 1982
Despite the fact that employers are required under the law to treat and pay men and women equally for the same job with the same responsibilities, sadly, that does not always occur. Indeed, to this day, many women continue to be victims of gender discrimination in the workplace, often being denied promotions and paid lower salaries than male counterparts.
If you believe you are being discriminated against because of your gender, The Amlong Firm will help you fight back. We understand the struggles women face in the workplace and we will help you seek justice. As the first state coordinator of the Florida chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW), attorney Karen Coolman Amlong has been an advocate for women's rights for decades. Quite simply, we possess experience and knowledge that few employment law firms can match.
What is Gender Discrimination?
Gender discrimination is comprised of various direct and indirect actions or omissions in the workplace that treat you unfavorably simply because of your sex. This type of discrimination can occur when applying for a position or during the course of your employment. Although it can be applied to anyone, women have been the predominate victims of gender discrimination in the workplace.
Gender discrimination is prohibited by federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law protects you from this type of discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, pay raises, job classifications, benefits, and more.
Gender discrimination can range from the overt to the more subtle. It is about an employer who is hostile and intimidating to you because of your gender even if the content of what is being said is not sexual.
Examples of gender discrimination can include:
- The "glass ceiling" — stereotypes and expectations of what women can and should be doing versus what men can and should be doing. Men are assumed to be competent. Women have to prove their competence over and over again and their mistakes are often remembered long after a man’s has been forgotten.
- Research shows that women are often expected to conform to various stereotyped roles, including a "mother" (who nurtures), "Ms. Efficiency" (who organizes everything for everybody) and a "mascot" (who waits on the sidelines and cheers the guys on). Women who conform to stereotypes often are rewarded. Those who don't often are punished. When a male manager demands higher performance or stands up for himself, he's being "assertive." When a female manager does the same thing, she's being a "bitch."
- The office bully who rears up on his toes and screams at his female vice president but does not have what it takes to scream at his male vice president.
- Different pay scales -- Unequal pay has been a problem for many years, with very little progress being made. The reason for this is that it is a problem at every level of employment from entry level positions all the way to high-ranking government positions. You have probably heard politicians promising to fight for equal pay during campaign months, but very little has actually been done thus far to solve the problem.
- Different interview tactics -- If you go into an interview and the person with whom you are meeting asks you if you have children or if you are planning to have children, it could be a solid bet that the interviewer did not ask a male candidate these questions. In fact, it's likely illegal for an interviewer to ask such questions. Family-planning decisions have no bearing on the kind of skill set you are bringing to the table.
- Pretextual gender discrimination -- This kind of discrimination can affect female employees in typically male-dominated industries. One insidious way this might affect your employment is if the job description requires physical strength that few women possess and which will not normally be necessary for that position.
Some positions require a certain amount of upper body strength, e.g., firefighters. These individuals have to be strong enough to hoist and carry victims and/or fallen colleagues out of burning buildings while wearing pounds of heavy firefighting gear. Not being able to do this can mean a loss of lives, which is never acceptable.
However, requiring a warehouse worker to be able to overhead-lift 50 lbs. or more might not be necessary and could be used to eliminate many otherwise qualified female workers.
Male employees working in male-dominated professions — such as firefighters, police officers, and those in the financial industry — acting in a rude or dismissive manner toward female co-workers; this may be evidence of gender discrimination in the workplace. Quite simply, if the anti-woman behavior is either serious or pervasive, it is against the law.
In Delva v Continental Group in 2014, the Florida Supreme Court began its analysis with a review of the statute and its provision that prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of an individual's sex. Looking to Massachusetts' interpretation of an almost identical statute, that court's analysis first looked to whether pregnancy is a sex-linked classification. The court decided that since only women can be pregnant, pregnancy is a sex-based distinction and thus within the Civil Rights Act prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Violations of the Equal Pay Act – Another Form of Gender Discrimination
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits sex-based wage discrimination. Your employer must pay men and women working under similar conditions equally. While the Equal Pay Act has been the law of the land for over half a century, gender discrimination of unequal wages is still widespread. If your employer is not paying you and your male coworkers the same wages for the same work done, your employer could be held responsible to pay you for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime compensation, and additional liquidated damages. You may have a right to file a claim to collect those wages and damages from your employer.
The EPA has a straightforward purpose to bridge the pay gap between men and women. However, the law is complex involving several exceptions to which you must be aware. For example, exceptions include wages not based on sex but subject to differentials such as pay based on a seniority or merit system or earnings calculated on production quantity or quality output.
The best way to put an end to gender discrimination is to hold employers responsible for their illegal actions in the workplace. The EPA is governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Your case starts with filing an EEOC claim within a limited time frame. The EEOC will determine whether the facts of your case merit a lawsuit. You will need significant evidence. Our experienced trial lawyers can help by investigating the facts of your case to get the proof you need in a timely manner.
Call Us Today to Discuss Your Concerns
The Amlong Firm has represented executive and professional women who were punished because of being forceful and effective and failing to live up (or down) to stereotypes. We have litigated cases for women in law enforcement, emergency medical services, construction, and even the trucking industry. While most of our gender discrimination cases involve women, the same employment laws and principles also protect men from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment.