Gender or Sex Discrimination
Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 make gender or sex discrimination unlawful. Gender or sex discrimination refers to treating an individual unfavorably because of that person's gender or sex. Gender or sex discrimination can also refer to unfavorable treatment of an individual because of that individual's connection to or membership in a group that is associated with a certain sex or gender. Gender or sex discrimination applies to all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, job placement, training, pay, and benefits.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay men and women equal pay for equal work. Equal pay for equal work does not require that the jobs or job titles be identical. Instead it uses a job's content as the criteria upon which equal compensation is judged. All forms of compensation are covered by this law including salary, bonuses, overtime pay, vacation and sick pay, stock options, benefits, hotel accommodations, or reimbursement for travel expenses.
Equal pay discrimination and sex discrimination often coincide and overlap, making it possible for someone who has a claim under the Equal Pay Act to also have a claim under Title VII and the FEHA.
If a supervisor, other management level employee, or fellow employee is making offensive remarks, physical gestures, or advances that are creating a hostile or unbearable work environment, this may constitute sexual harassment. If a coworker engages in these behaviors and the employer is aware of it and takes no action, they are also liable. This sort of behavior is not limited to a male harassing a female, but would also apply to a female sexually harassing a male, or sexual harassment by a member of the same sex.
Sexual harassment is illegal under both federal law (Title VII) and California state law (FEHA). Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances of a physical or verbal nature. These actions must be severe or pervasive in order to qualify as illegal harassment, since offhand comments or individual remarks do not constitute sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment can also take the form "quid pro quo" harrassment, a practice that trades sexual relations for special treatment within the workplace. Both of these forms of sexual harassment in the workplace are illegal, and many times they occur together.