As a privately practicing attorney, Douglas Geyman focuses primarily on employment law. Douglas Geyman has represented clients on both sides of workplace disputes, including cases of discrimination.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer may not legally discriminate based on an employee’s sex. The act applies to all companies and organizations with 15 or more employees, while state law increases coverage for many other entities. This legislation followed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits employers from paying men more than women for the same work, so long as the work requires similar accountability, skill, and effort.
Combined, this legislation makes it illegal for an employer to offer different wages or benefits based on an employee’s gender or family situation. For example, an employer may not deny health benefits to a female employee’s husband and simultaneously offer benefits to the wife of a male employee. Employers are likewise prohibited from denying opportunities to women with children if the same opportunities would be available to a man with children of similar age.
Furthermore, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 has confirmed that an employer may not penalize an employee in any way if she becomes pregnant. Instead, the employer must treat pregnancy-related absences and impacts to performance as it would treat any other temporary debility. These guidelines reflect the need for employers to carefully consider their actions in regards to female employees and to assess whether policy would be similar for their male counterparts.