Tag archives: sex discrimination

Australian Human Rights Commission – Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has recently released its ‘Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces’ report (Report) in response to the decision in June 2018 by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and the then Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, to launch the independent national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (Inquiry).… Continue Reading

Gender pay gap: a new measuring tool

Since 1972, there have been numerous laws on professional equality between men and women but the gender pay gap remains a crucial issue which has not been resolved yet.

The parliament voted a new law on 5th September 2018 creating an index to be used to measure the gender pay gap in companies.

Since 1st January 2019, there has been an obligation to assess the gender pay gap in each company with at least 50 employees through the use of the index. The methodology adopted is to allocate a certain number of points based on the following criteria:

  • Comparison of
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Court holds that it’s not discriminatory to enhance pay during maternity leave, but to pay only statutory shared parental pay during shared parental leave.

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave.

Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced paternity pay to those on paternity leave, it has long been accepted that paying enhanced maternity pay is defensible under the provisions of the Equality Act which state that, when determining whether a man has been discriminated against on grounds of his gender, no account … Continue Reading

French employment law : Key developments expected for 2019

The French authorities have been very prolific in the area of effecting reforms to employment law, and 2019 will not be an exception to this general rule (although perhaps less so than was the case in 2017 and 2018).

First, in 2019, a certain number of reforms promulgated in 2017 and 2018 will either come into force become fully effective:

  • As of January 2019, all companies have become subject to the requirement to withhold income tax from salaries paid to their employees. This change had been under discussion for a fairly long time and was initially planned to enter into
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Religious discrimination claim – whose religion?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that where an employer (or individuals on behalf of the employer) acts because of their own religion or belief, this may not lead to an employee bringing a successful claim for direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief. The EAT upheld the employer’s appeal, overturning the Employment Tribunal decision.

The case involved a teacher at a nursery run in accordance with ultra-orthodox Jewish principles, who was dismissed after complaints made by parents who were aware that she was cohabiting with her partner. At a meeting, the headteacher and the nursery’s managing director … Continue Reading

Claim by track cyclist Jess Varnish to be heard in the employment tribunal next week

Track cyclist Jess Varnish brought a claim of sex discrimination against British Cycling and UK Sport last year, following her removal from the Great Britain Olympic team just months before the 2016 Rio Games.

In the UK, protection from discrimination in the workplace is governed by the Equality Act 2010 (the Act). However, in order to be able to bring a claim, an individual must fall within the categories of protected persons under the Act.

Who is protected?

The first category of those protected under the Act are those in “employment” which has a wider meaning for the purposes of … Continue Reading

“High heels and workplace dress codes” – the UK Government Equalities Office publishes guidance

In December 2015, an agency worker arrived to work as a receptionist and was sent home without pay for failure to wear high heels in accordance with the agency’s dress code. The story attracted widespread media attention, and led to an enquiry by a House of Commons Committee whose report was published in January 2017. As a result, the Government promised to update its guidance on dress codes during 2017, but the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has only just published the long-awaited guidance.

“High heels and workplace dress codes”

The enquiry resulted in publication of the report “High heels Continue Reading

EAT holds that paying enhanced maternity pay, but only statutory shared parental pay, is capable of amounting to indirect sex discrimination

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave.

Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced paternity pay to those on paternity leave, it has long been accepted that paying enhanced maternity pay is defensible under the provisions of the Equality Act which state that, when determining whether a man has been discriminated against on grounds of his gender, no account … Continue Reading

It’s not discriminatory to pay enhanced pay during maternity leave but only statutory pay during shared parental leave

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave.

Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced paternity pay to those on paternity leave, it has long been accepted that paying enhanced maternity pay is defensible under the provisions of the Equality Act which state that, when determining whether a man has been discriminated against on grounds of his gender, no account … Continue Reading

Expanding definition of “sex discrimination” under Title VII

The Judiciary continues to act where Congress will not

All employment attorneys—and most employers—know that Title VII bars discrimination based on certain enumerated personal characteristics: race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It has long been the case that “sex” meant biological sex only, i.e., discriminating against a woman because she is a woman, or against a man because he is a man, is plainly illegal under Title VII.

By contrast, unlike some equivalent state laws, it has long been clear that Title VII does not guard against discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Indeed, Congress has on a number … Continue Reading

Title VII sexual orientation claims are gaining traction with more courts

On November 4, 2016, a federal judge in Pennsylvania became the latest jurist to side with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in endorsing the viability of claims based on sexual orientation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In U.S. EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, the EEOC brought suit on behalf of a gay male employee based on a sexually hostile work environment allegedly caused by his male supervisor.  During the EEOC’s investigation into charges filed by the employee’s co-workers, the agency learned of sex-based comments being directed towards the employee, including terms … Continue Reading

What rights and protections are there for part-time workers in the UK?

In the UK, before June 2000 there was no express protection for part-time workers against less favourable treatment when compared with those who work full time. Their only options for legal redress were by way of an equal pay or sex discrimination claim. In 2000 the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (the Regulations) came into force providing specific protection for part-time employees and workers.

What is a part-time worker?

In the Regulations, a part-time worker is defined as a person who is paid wholly or in part by reference to the time they work, and who is … Continue Reading

DOL issues sex discrimination final rule

On June 14, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a Final Rule to revise its sex discrimination policies, updating its guidelines to provide additional guidance on what constitutes discrimination based on sex. The updated guidelines define “sex” to include gender identity, transgender status, pregnancy, and sex stereotyping.  OFCCP also clarified some aspects of the old rule, including which parts contractors are subject to, whether a contractor’s good-faith efforts to expand employment opportunities for women could result in a violation of the Rule, and whether contractors may seek exemptions under the … Continue Reading

The prohibition on employment discrimination based on “sex” takes many forms

Numerous federal, state, and local laws in the United States prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s sex and thus protecting employees from being discriminated against based on their “sex”. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the principle federal law which prohibits discrimination based on sex in the workplace.  There are also many state and local laws which prohibit discrimination based on sex which may offer broader protection that that afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 What is discrimination based on sex?

Discrimination based on … Continue Reading

What protection do employees have from discrimination on grounds of gender in the UK?

Although discrimination on grounds of gender – or sex – regarding pay and other contractual terms of employment was first made unlawful in Great Britain in 1970 under the Equal Pay Act, sex discrimination in respect of all aspects of the employment relationship was first made unlawful in 1975. The current law on sex discrimination is now set out in the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) which provides for protection from discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of a number of protected characteristics including disability, race, sex, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, gender reassignment and … Continue Reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on grounds of gender in Quebec?

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Quebec Charter) provides the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sex. In the employment context, this protection has a wide scope that extends notably, but without limitation, to hiring, to the conditions of employment and to dismissal.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) defines sex discrimination as :

“(…) practices or attitudes that have, whether by design or impact, the effect of limiting an individual’s or a group’s right to the opportunities generally available because of attributed rather than actual characteristics.” (Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd.

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Current status of legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in employment

As the workforce becomes more and more diverse, sexual orientation and gender identity have become very hot topics in discussions regarding employee rights. It may be surprising to learn that neither is considered a protected class under current federal employment discrimination law in the United States.

At last count, however, 32 states, including the District of Columbia, have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. While federal government employees and contractors enjoy similar protections, Congress has yet to expand the statutorily protected classes of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information … Continue Reading

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