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California State University, Long Beach
Office of Equity & Diversity
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Sex Discrimination: FYI

Both the federal government and the State of California recognize sex discrimination as an unlawful practice.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers protection from discrimination through:

Title VII of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, which stipulates that the employer has an affirmative duty to maintain a work environment free from harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Sexual harassment is considered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as a form of sex discrimination, and is the subject of its Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex.

The Glass Ceiling Act, which establishes a commission to examine issues to:

  • focus greater attention on the importance of eliminating artificial barriers to the advancement of women and minorities to management and decision making positions and
  • promote work force diversity.

Title IX of the Education Amendments to the Higher Education Act stipulates that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity in an institution that receives federal financial assistance. Title IX also recognizes sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the subsequent Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 provide the same basic coverage in that they assure protection in equality of work, wages, benefits, and treatment in employment. However, the EPA applies to executive, administrative, and professional employees who are normally exempted from the FLSA.

The Family and Medical Leave Act states its purpose to promote the goal of equal employment opportunity for women and men, and to minimize the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of sex by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons (including maternity-related disability) and for compelling family reasons, on a gender-neutral basis.

California has a fair employment practices law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (CFEHA), that prohibits many types of discrimination - including sex discrimination - by both public and private employers, and imposes nondiscrimination prohibitions on government contractors.

In addition, sex discrimination is prohibited by:

  • State Civil Service Act
  • Equal pay law
  • Public works statute
  • State-funded programs and activities law.
  • Education Code.
Further, discrimination on the basis of sex and pregnancy in employment is prohibited by Article I of the state constitution.

The Fair Employment and Housing Commission recognizes voluntary affirmative action as an effective means for eliminating employment discrimination, and has adopted the EEOC's affirmative action guideline.

California State University

The governing boards of school districts or community college districts, the Chancellor and each president of each California State University campus, and the President and each chancellor of each University of California campus covered by the Education Code have primary responsibility for ensuring that their programs and activities are free from discrimination based sex. Before receiving any state financial assistance, covered educational institutions must assure the agencies administering the funds, in the manner required by the agencies, that the institutions comply with the prohibitions against sex discrimination. State financial assistance means any form of financial assistance appropriated or authorized under state law or under any federal law administered by the state to assist any educational program for its own benefit of that of its students.

The California State University must report on representation and utilization of ethnic minorities and women to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, which must report the information annually to the Legislature. Further, the trustees of The California State University must review wage and other personnel practices as applied to female employees, and must take corrective measures where inequities exist.

Federal laws establish minimum standards with which state statutes must be consistent. State statutes which provide stronger protections from discrimination are considered consistent - and not in conflict - with federal law.

Familiarity with both state and federal discrimination law is important. Before you consider whether you have been or being treated unlawfully because of your gender, know what laws and statutes apply. Find out which govern your employer, its employees, labor organizations, funding sources, and/or public/private status.

To learn more about your rights, ask questions.

  • Consult with your collective bargaining representative.
  • Confer with Larisa E. Hamada, Director of Office of Equity and Diversity, (562) 985 8256 - USU 301
  • Link to the EEOC Resources page.
  • Link to the state DFEH Resources page.

California State University, Long Beach, is obligated to provide a gender-discrimination-free working and learning environment.