People should never face discrimination at work because of their gender. Society, as a whole, has mostly moved past the notion that one sex is better at certain jobs than the other. Not only is sex discrimination wrong, it is illegal under employment laws. In fact, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on gender, sexual orientation and a variety of other factors. If employers choose to discriminate illegally, then they can face legal action.

One California woman sued her employer, Dirtt Environmental Solutions, for alleged illegal discrimination. The case recently was settled.

According to the woman, she worked for Dirtt as a sales representative starting in 2008. The company designs modular office spaces. In 2010, the CEO supposedly sent an email to another Dirtt employee and said that the company needed to hire a “gay guy in SF.” He went on to say that the company did not need any more women employees.

The woman also claims that the CEO made similar comments to her and had offended her on prior occasions. Shortly after the email was sent, the woman was fired from the company. The woman filed suit claiming sex discrimination after her termination.

Dirtt claims that the woman was not fired because of her gender. Instead, they say she was not good at her job. The company explained that the CEO’s comments were not meant to be discriminatory, but instead were meant to highlight the company’s need for more diversity in its workplace.

Settlements, like this one, can be a good way for employees and employers to end disagreements about possible discrimination. These agreements can be negotiated to satisfy all parties. In this case, Dirtt will pay the woman $700,000. Furthermore, the company will set guidelines to avoid harassment and discrimination in the future.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Firm settles job bias suit for $700,000,” Bob Egelko, Oct. 12, 2012