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How does federal law protect me from sex discrimination?

It doesn't matter if you're male or female, your employer cannot discriminate against you on the basis of your gender. In other words, if you're working at a construction site and you're female, your boss can't give a potentially dangerous job to your male colleague instead of you just because you're a woman. Similarly, if you're a cocktail waiter, your boss can't deny you shifts, just because he or she would prefer to have a female staff member serving drinks on a particular night.

The law that protects American workers from sex discrimination is found within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act makes the following things illegal in terms of gender-based employment discrimination:

  • Your employer cannot refuse to give you employment, and cannot terminate your employment -- or discriminate against you at work in other ways regarding pay, employment conditions or employment benefits on the basis of your sex.
  • Your employer cannot segregate you, classify you or limit you -- or any applicants -- relating to your employment in a way that would deprive you of stats merely because of your sex.
  • Your employer cannot discriminate you if you're working in an apprenticeship program.
  • Your employer may not retaliate against you because you complained about sex discrimination or because you opposed a policy of discriminatory employment practices.
  • Your employer cannot take out sexually stereotyped ads to seek specific genders of potential employees.

Sex discrimination will only stop in the United States if those who are being negatively affected by it choose to stand up for the rights. If you're being victimized by this kind of behavior, you may be on the right side of the law.

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