Sex discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Under Title VII, no employer with 15 or more employees may discriminate against a person on the basis of their sex.
Employees seeking to bring a charge of sex discrimination must file a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days of the discriminatory action. The EEOC will investigate the charge and determine whether they are able to prove that discrimination occurred.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII to include a prohibition against discrimination because of pregnancy (which is brought as a sex discrimination claim). Employers covered by Title VII must treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees. Employers are not required to treat pregnant employees better than non-pregnant employees.
North Carolina public policy also prohibits sex discrimination by employers with 15 or more employees. A lawsuit filed under North Carolina public policy must be filed within three years of the discriminatory act.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (the “EPA”) covers only wage discrimination on the basis of sex. The EPA requires that employers pay men and women the same wage for the same work. Employees filing an EPA claim must do so within two years for most violations (three years for willful violations). The EPA applies to all employers, regardless of size, and has no EEOC filing requirement, allowing victims to bring their claims directly to court.
What Employment Actions are Covered?
Title VII, the EPA, and North Carolina public policy prohibit sex discrimination in most aspects of employment, including:
- hiring and firing;
- compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
- transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
- job advertisements;
- use of company facilities;
- training and apprenticeship programs;
- fringe benefits;
- pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or
- other terms and conditions of employment.
What Can Victims of Sex Discrimination Recover?
Victims of sex discrimination can recover a wide range of remedies, mostly designed to make them “whole.” These remedies include:
- back pay;
- front pay; and
- other remedies to make the victim “whole.”
Victims may also recover attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, court costs, and punitive damages.
For answers to your sex discrimination questions and to set up a consultation, call a Hensel Law attorney today at (336) 218-6466.