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Gender Discrimination

California Attorneys Vigorously Representing Employees

Gender DiscriminationMost employees do not anticipate being treated adversely in the workplace due to their gender. It is unlawful under both federal and state laws for an employer to discriminate based on gender. Even so, some employers make important decisions based on an employee’s gender. If you were subject to gender discrimination in your workplace, you should talk to the Orange County gender discrimination lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm about your situation.

Gender Discrimination

The federal law that prohibits gender discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Generally, however, California law affords more protections to employees. Gender discrimination is prohibited under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), along with the California Fair Pay Act and the California Equal Pay Act of 1949.


FEHA applies to employers with at least five employees. FEHA makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate because of sex, gender, gender expression, or gender identity. Discrimination can involve termination, refusal to hire, refusal to train, or any other adverse conduct involving compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. For example, if your employer refuses to promote you while claiming that you are too feminine to place in a leadership role, this is likely actionable gender discrimination.

Employers sometimes stereotype or make generalizations about the productivity or work performance of their employees based on their gender. FEHA and other laws are meant to protect workers so that they are judged based on their ability and performance rather than their conformity to preconceptions about gender. Our gender discrimination attorneys can help Orange County employees protect their rights in this area.

It is rare for employers to admit that they are committing gender discrimination. Sometimes, however, a discriminatory intent appears in a workplace. For example, if one gender is regularly promoted, and the other is not, there may be gender discrimination. Similarly, if managers suggest that you wear sexually provocative clothes for a male client, this tends to suggest gender discrimination. A hostile work environment may also suggest gender discrimination. Repeatedly assigning only men to certain prestigious activities, while giving lesser work to female employees, may also be a sign of gender discrimination.

The California Equal Pay Act

The California Equal Pay Act provides important protections against gender discrimination. It mandates that employers pay equally those employees who perform substantially similar work when the work is viewed as a composite of responsibility, effort, or skill and is performed under similar working conditions. In other words, your employer should not pay you differently from an employee of a different gender for doing a similar job. For example, if your male colleague and you perform the same tasks at the same office, you should be paid the same. Our Orange County gender discrimination attorneys can hold an employer accountable for unequal pay.

Wage differentials may be based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) other than sex, a seniority system, a merit system, a productivity system, education, training, or experience. For instance, if your male colleague has several more years of experience than you do, it may be appropriate for your employer to pay him differently. However, you should consult an experienced attorney if you are not sure.

An employer can justify unequal pay under the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense if it can show that the excluded people are unable to effectively and safely do a job, and the essence of the business operation would be undermined without the practice. The employer will need to show that the unequal pay is consistent with business necessity, that it is job-related, and that it is not derived from a sex-based differential in pay.

Consult a Knowledgeable Gender Discrimination Lawyer in Orange County

Gender discrimination can be insidious and can affect your career in the long term. If you believe that you were subject to gender discrimination in the workplace, you should consult the seasoned employment attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm about your situation. You may be able to recover damages. We represent people in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Call us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"Integrity, competency, and compassion! Dimuth Amaratunga has represented me and counseled me in several matters over the last several years, and each time, I have benefited tremendously from his knowledge, his wisdom and his empathy. He is without a doubt an authority in employment law and personal injury. But most importantly, he has compassion and truly focused on getting the best result for his clients. I am a practicing attorney and I wholeheartedly recommend him and his firm!" David J.