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Sex Discrimination

EEOC enforces two laws that protect you from sex-based discrimination at work:

  • Title VII prohibits an employer from treating you differently, or less favorably, because of your sex. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes about the abilities and traits of a particular gender. EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws. Both men and women are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII.
  • The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. This means that employers may not pay men and women who perform substantially similar jobs at the same location unequal wages because of sex.

The laws enforced by EEOC also prohibit sexual harassment at work. Sex harassment includes conduct that is sexual in nature, such as sexual jokes or requests for sexual favors, and non-sexual conduct that is based on your gender. The law protects you from being sexually harassed by your supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, and others in your workplace, such as a client or customer. The harasser, as well as the victim, can be a male or female.

Finally, the laws enforced by EEOC protect you from being punished or harassed at work because you or someone you closely associate with (for example, a relative or close friend) complains about sex discrimination. We call this your right to be protected from retaliation.

If you would like more information after reading the frequently asked questions, see the EEOC's Sex-Based Discrimination page and Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination page.