Discrimination based on an employee’s sex is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In fact, under Title VII, workplace discrimination is prohibited based on a variety of factors including national origin, religion, race and color. If employers learn of, or participate in, discrimination based on one of these factors, they are responsible for stopping this behavior. If employers fail to stop workplace discrimination based on sex — or another factor — then a California employee may have legal rights.

Recently, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has come to a settlement with an employee that claims he was subject to discrimination at work. This male employee was a member of the kitchen staff with CDCR. This employee says that he was subject to unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment, sexual suggestive comments and other similar treatment by a female employee. The advances eventually escalated to unwanted physical touching over the course of a year.

The male employee claims that he complained to supervisors with CDCR about the discrimination and harassment. However, CDCR never responded to the complaints and failed to address his issues. Therefore, the employee brought a civil suit.

In the settlement of this suit, the CDCR must provide appropriate training to its employees about sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. Proper procedures must also be kept by the CDCR to handle retaliation and discrimination. Finally, CDCR has agreed to give the employee $50,000 to compensate him for the harassment and to repay him for time he took off to get away from the harassment.

Both male and female employees have the right to be free from discrimination based on their sex. Employees from both genders need to make sure they understand their legal rights and exercise them when necessary.

Source: Imperial Valley News, “Justice Department Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,” April 16, 2014