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Sex or Gender Termination
Employment is at will in California. Generally, this means that you can be terminated for any reason or for no reason. However, there are exceptions. Under California law, you cannot be terminated in violation of a statute, contract, or public policy. State and federal laws prohibit termination based on protected characteristics, such as sex and gender. If you were subject to wrongful termination due to sex or gender, you should consult the Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers at the Kokozian Law Firm about whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit for damages.Wrongful Termination due to Sex or Gender
Sex and gender are protected characteristics under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). They are also protected characteristics under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sex refers to a biological difference, while gender implicates cultural attitudes attached to sex. You may have a wrongful termination claim not only in connection with your sex but also if you were terminated because of any stereotypes or attitudes about gender that were expressed by your employer.FEHA
FEHA prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. It applies to employers with at least five employees. To prevail in a claim for wrongful termination based on gender under FEHA, your attorney would need to show that you were a member of a certain gender, you were wrongfully terminated, you were qualified for the job, and you were replaced by someone not of that gender, or similarly situated employees of the opposite gender were treated better.
Employers may understand that discrimination based on sex or gender is forbidden. Sometimes standards are set by using language that obscures the intent. For example, an employer may institute certain appearance, grooming, or dress standards to avoid explicitly saying that men should wear suits and women should wear dresses. However, if you are terminated because you do not groom yourself according to gender stereotypes, you may have a claim. An employer is supposed to allow an employee to groom or dress consistently with the employee’s gender identity. You also may have a wrongful termination claim if you refuse to conform to gender stereotypes regarding your behavior or presentation and are fired as a result.The Equal pay Act of 1963
Under the Equal Pay Act, you are entitled to an equal rate of pay for the same job as employees of the opposite sex. You may have a wrongful termination claim if you called a pay differential between male and female workers to your employer’s attention, and you were terminated as a result.Retaliation
In some instances, an employee is terminated for filing a complaint of sex or gender discrimination under FEHA or Title VII. Both laws prohibit retaliation, which is an adverse employment action taken in response to a protected activity. For example, if you complain to HR that your coworkers are harassing you due to your gender, and shortly afterward your employer claims that this good-faith complaint showed that you are not a team player and terminates you, this likely will be considered retaliation by a court. Often, it is more straightforward to establish retaliation than it is to show discrimination. Accordingly, you may be able to recover damages for a termination that is retaliatory, even if you cannot recover damages for the underlying discrimination.Damages
If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover damages for your wrongful termination. These can include lost income, lost benefits, emotional distress, and loss of professional reputation. In a wrongful termination case that involves egregious misconduct by an employer, it may be possible to recover punitive damages.Consult a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles
Wrongful termination due to sex or gender can cause significant financial and emotional harm. You should discuss your legal options with the experienced attorneys at the Kokozian Law Firm. We represent workers in Los Angeles and throughout California. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.