Home / Practice Areas / Gender/Sex

Discrimination > Gender/Sex

Sex discrimination is prohibited in hiring, compensation, terms or conditions of employment, on-the-job treatment and termination.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.

Federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1964) prohibits discrimination based on sex by any employer who employs 15 or more persons. Employers, other than the federal government doing business in Oregon, are covered by state law or by both state and federal law.

Under Oregon law, ORS 659A.030, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex. Employers with one or more employees are covered by this law.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

The federal Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1963.

Oregon law has required nondiscrimination in pay since 1955.

When members of both sexes perform work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions, the Act requires that they be paid equally. However, different wages may be paid pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quality or quantity of production or a differential based on any factor other than sex.

Under the Equal Pay Act, an employer may not lower the wages of the higher-paid employee. The wages of the lower-paid employee must be raised to eliminate the effects of the unlawful pay differential.

Substantially Equal

Equal work does not mean that employees have identical jobs, rather they do work that is substantially equal. Different tasks that are only occasional and incidental do not justify a difference in wages.

The courts have determined that the following two reasons for paying women less are invalid:

  • Women will work for less than men.
  • Employing women results in higher costs for unemployment insurance, workers´ compensation and group insurance.

Here are some examples of potentially unlawful sex/gender discrimination that women, for example, may face:

  • Hiring/Firing/Promotions: You apply for a job for which you have experience and excellent qualifications, but you are not hired because some of the company’s long-time clients are more comfortable dealing with men; you are told that you are laid off due to company cutbacks and reorganization, while men in the same job and with less seniority than you keep their jobs; you have worked for your company for several years, receiving exemplary reviews and an employee-of-the-year award, yet each of the five times you have applied for promotions, the positions you applied for are instead filled by less qualified men.
  • Pay: You worked your way up from the position of cook’s helper to chef. A male chef with similar training and work experience was recently hired, and you find out that he will be paid more than you; you are a top salesperson for your company, but are moved to a less desirable territory while a man with much lower sales is given your territory and client base, enabling him to make much more in commissions than you will make for several years.
  • Job Classification: You work at a company for four years and put in many hours of overtime. After you return from having a baby, you tell your employer that you will not be able to put in as many hours of overtime. Your position is then changed to a lower level and you get less pay, while male coworkers in similar positions are allowed to cut back their overtime hours for personal reasons without any changes to their positions or pay.
  • Benefits: Your company’s health insurance policy does not cover your spouse, because it is assumed that he will have his own benefits, while your male coworkers have their wives covered by the policy. Because your husband is between jobs, you have to pay increased health benefits on his behalf that your coworkers do not pay for their wives.

If any of these things have happened to you on the job, you may have suffered sex or gender discrimination. Sex or gender discrimination may be accompanied by other forms of illegal discrimination as well, such as age, race, disability discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment also considered forms of sex discrimination under the law.


Contact Form

We will respond to your inquiry in a timely fashion. Thank you.

Quick Contact Form