Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
It is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of sex, either male or female. Further, sex discrimination can include harassment or specific adverse employment actions based on sex. Sex discrimination can arise in a number of various contexts, such as discriminatory discharge, failure to promote, or pregnancy discrimination.
Sex discrimination also frequently arises in situations involving claims for unequal pay. A female worker must show that male employees were paid more for equal work in jobs that required equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and were performed under similar conditions. Determining whether two jobs actually require equal skill, effort, and responsibility is a fact-intensive question that requires practical judgment on the basis of all the circumstances of a particular case.
As in racial discrimination cases, recruitment policies may create or perpetuate unbalanced representation of one sex in a workplace. This result may be unlawful under unless an employer can demonstrate that the policy can be justified as a business necessity. Hiring and recruiting policies that may violate the law include internal workforce job referrals that result in a predominantly male workforce.
Title VII’s sexual discrimination prohibitions apply throughout the hiring process — from advertisements to the final hiring decision. For example, an employer may not request preemployment information from female applicants that it does not request from males.
Physical requirements, such as height and weight, may also be discriminatory. Courts have reasoned that such requirements are discriminatory if they exclude a disproportionate percentage of women. Rules preventing the hiring of unwed mothers have also been found discriminatory.
Missouri does not provide any state-level protection against discrimination based on gender identity for transgender and gender variant employees. However, the Supreme Court's recent decision on June 15, 2020, in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia has given LGBTQ workers the ability to bring their claims for discrimination under federal law.