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Sex and Gender Anti Discrimination Laws

The inclusion of sex as a basis for protected status in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has led to additional areas of legal protection, and a number of laws and regulations now address discrimination based on sex or gender. Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 amended Title VII to require that employers treat maternity leave the same as other personal or medical leaves. Courts have generally ruled that the PDA requires employers to treat pregnant employees the same as those who are not pregnant.

Closely related to the PDA is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The FMLA requires that qualified individuals be given up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave and also requires that those taking family leave be allowed to return to jobs. The FMLA applies to both men and women.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires employers to pay similar wage rates for similar work without regard to gender. A common core of tasks must be similar to justify similar wages. Tasks performed only intermittently or infrequently do not make jobs different enough to justify different wages.

Pay equity involves the idea that pay for jobs requiring comparable levels of knowledge, skill, and ability should be similar, even if actual duties differ significantly. This theory has also been called comparable worth

The influx of women into the workforce has had major social, economic, and organizational consequences. In particular, the growing number of women has led to more sex and gender issues related to jobs and careers.

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