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Gender Discrimination: Applicable Laws

Gender discrimination undermines the dignity of its victims and makes it difficult to work, to obtain housing, to get an education, or to engage in other life activities. The federal government has laws to protect those suffering from gender discrimination. Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, so your state may have its own laws that are very similar to those identified below (and in some states offer greater protections). In addition, municipalities like cities and counties can enact ordinances and laws related to civil rights.

Below is a list of federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender in a number of settings.

  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) ECOA guarantees an equal opportunity to obtain credit and prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of sex, familal status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program.
  • Fair Housing Act (FHA) The FHA prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on sex, familial status, race, color, national origin, religion, and disability.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) The EPA requires that employers pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of whether the employees are male or female.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) The FMLA gives employees the right to take time off from work in order to care for a newborn (or recently adopted) child, or to look after an ill family member.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employment discrimination against female workers who are (or intend to become) pregnant - including discrimination in hiring, failure to promote, and wrongful termination.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds, to increase educational and athletic opportunities for females in schools and colleges nationwide.
  • U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 - Civil Rights Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on gender, age, disability, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings including: education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified including: the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

Talk to an Attorney Now about your Gender Discrimination Claim

Have you been denied promotions at work or academic opportunities at school because of your gender? If you have suffered these or similar scenarios, you may have a legitimate claim for gender discrimination. Do not second guess your situation. Find out for sure by speaking to an attorney. An attorney experienced in discrimination issues can help you with your potential claim. You can find an attorney in your area with Findlaw's attorney directory.

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