What is Gender Law?

Gender Discrimination in Employment and Education

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin in addition to gender. Title VII's prohibitions against sex discrimination specifically cover different treatment, opportunities, or employment conditions based upon the sex of the employee.  This includes pregnancy and related medical conditions. Often, this is shown by evidence of preferential treatment given to members of the opposite sex who are in situations similar to the aggrieved employee. 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") protects against discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, including state and local educational agencies.  Title IX's obligations extend to recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment.

Sexual Harassment

Title VII also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, including practices ranging from direct requests for sexual favors to workplace conditions that create a hostile environment for persons of either gender, including same sex harassment.

Similarly, Title IX guards against sexual harassment against students by educators, administrators and fellow students. 

  • Sexual harassment can qualify as discrimination under Title IX if it is "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit." Courts have generally found that even a single instance of rape or sexual assault by another student meets this standard.
  • According to the Supreme Court, a school becomes legally responsible when the school's response to harassment "is clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances."

Equal Pay

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 ("EPA"), which protects against different pay based on gender for employees who perform substantially equal work for the same employer. EPA prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages or benefits, where men and women perform work of substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer, under similar working conditions:

  • Employers may not reduce wages of either sex to equalize pay between men and women.
  • EPA may be violated where a different wage was/is paid to a person who worked in the same job before or after an employee of the opposite sex.
  • A violation may also occur where a labor union causes the employer to violate the law.

Transgender Legal Name and Gender Marker Changes

Carrying identification that reflects your genuine, real-world self is basic—whether you’re transgender or not. When a transgender person’s ID is called into question, whether on suspicion of lying or out of an inappropriate interest in finding out whether they’ve had surgery, it amounts to harassment and discrimination and, often, a violation of privacy. Forty percent of  the 2016 National Transgender Discrimination Survey participants who presented ID that didn’t match their gender presentation said they were harassed, 15% were asked to leave an establishment and 3% were assaulted.

The DeBrota Law Firm LLC helps transgender people in central Indiana get legal name and gender marker changes on a sliding fee basis.


We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons...but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
— Gloria Steinem