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Sex-Based Discrimination

Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy.

Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.  For more information about LGBTQ+-related sex discrimination claims, see Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination.

Sex Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Sex Discrimination Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both the victim and the harasser may be any sex, and the victim and harasser may be the same sex or a different sex.

Although the law doesn't prohibit minor teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not frequent or serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, a subordinate, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Sex Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of sex, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on the employment of people of a certain sex and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business.