Sex & Gender Discrimination

HomePractice AreasSex & Gender Discrimination

Sex & Gender Discrimination Lawyer

Gender harassment is a form of discrimination that involves an employer (or a coworker with the employer’s knowledge) subjecting an employee to a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment because of that person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To be considered illegal, the conduct must be unwelcome and so harmful that it interferes with your ability to do your job. Califonia law protects you from harassment by your supervisors and coworkers and even by customers and third parties.

Unlawful Discrimination

California law prohibits discrimination due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. This prohibition means that, even if your employer is mistaken about your sexual identity, you are protected based on your “perceived” orientation. Not only that, but an employer may not ask you to answer questions about your sexual identity during an interview, directly or indirectly. For example, questions about your spouse or your body can be indirect questions about your sexual identity. In fact, in California, an employer cannot even require that you declare your gender on a job application.

California law grants you the right to be addressed by the name you live under (as opposed to the name on your birth certificate) and to use your preferred pronouns, even if you have not legally changed your name or gender identity. Similarly, you are entitled to use the workplace restroom that conforms to your gender identity. An employer cannot require that you use a particular restroom. Further, if your workplace only has single-stall bathrooms, the employer must label them as gender-neutral or with similar language. 

California recognizes and protects all forms of general identity. Whether you are gender non-conforming or gender non-binary, the law protects you, and your employer must respect all such expressions and identities. Moreover, if you choose to come out or transition while already employed, your employer may not take any adverse action against you for doing so. Both California and federal law protect your transgender and transition status. Your employer may not take adverse action against you if it becomes aware of your transgender or transitioning status. 

California law requires that employer-provided health insurance plans and Medi-Cal cover medically necessary gender-affirming care on the same basis as they cover other medically necessary healthcare. If you are denied treatment by an HMO or managed plan, you can appeal to the state. If any other kind of health plan denies you, you should consult an attorney about your options. Similarly, your health insurance plan, if it provides coverage for dependents, must provide coverage for same-sex spouses and registered domestic partners. 

Consult with a Sex & Gender Discrimination Attorney

If you have experienced problems with gender discrimination at work and have taken steps to complain, your employer may not take any steps to punish you or retaliate against you for that complaint. Doing so is illegal under California law. However, this kind of retaliation is not uncommon. If you think you are suffering retaliation for a gender harassment or discrimination complaint, you should contact an experienced gender discrimination lawyer immediately. 

Gender and sexual orientation discrimination and harassment violate federal and state laws. You do not need to suffer in silence. 


(415) 484-0980


Make an Appointment

What Our Clients Say

NUVEW | Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved | Accessibility Notice | Privacy Policy