Sex Stereotyping In The Workplace

According to federal anti-discrimination laws, gender identity and gender expression are not protected categories. However, New York City’s statute on employment anti-discrimination includes gender identity and gender expression as protected categories. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex stereotyping, which may now provide a basis for claims.

In Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), the Supreme Court held that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on stereotypes about how a particular gender should or should not behave. This means that unlawful sex stereotyping may involve a female employee regarded as not feminine or a male employee regarded as not masculine enough.

In another case, a former Vice President of Sales for an advertising company is seeking confirmation of an arbitration award in the Manhattan federal court for a sex discrimination and sex stereotyping case against the defendant company. In Berger v. Kargo Global, Inc., the arbitrator found that Plaintiff was responsible for half of the company’s increase in annual revenue and had an excellent track record. The advertising agency terminated Plaintiff with cause and denied her benefits. According to Plaintiff’s contract, she was entitled to such benefits and any dispute must be handled in arbitration.

Plaintiff then filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association and the arbitrator issued a decision in her favor, awarding her significant damages. The arbitrator noted that defendant “engaged in profanity and inappropriately suggestive language, as well as potentially offensive language,” which defendant referred to as “men’s culture.” The arbitrator found that defendant penalized the plaintiff for engaging in similar behavior, which “amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes in violation of Title VII.”

Navigating the complexities of gender discrimination in the workplace can be difficult. It is important that individuals who have faced gender discrimination seek the guidance of an experienced employment gender discrimination lawyer, Steven Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer” has represented individuals alleging gender discrimination for more than 37 years. Mr. Sack is knowledgeable in all aspects of employment law and fights zealously on behalf of his clients. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@stevensack.com.

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