Arizona Sex & Gender Discrimination Law

Discrimination Based on Sex

Arizona and federal laws address sex discrimination, which involves treating an individual differently (especially negatively) because of that person's sex. Sex discrimination comes in many forms and can also arise when an employer treats someone unfavorably because of his or her connection with organizations or groups that are typically associated with people of a certain sex.

Although the law was unclear for some time, recent changes and decisions have clarified that discrimination against someone because they are transgender constitutes illegal discrimination under federal law. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals may also bring sex discrimination claims, though the viability of those claims may depend on the circumstances of the discrimination and/or whether their community has enacted laws precluding such discrimination. Claims may arise under federal law if its possible to show that an adverse action was taken because of the claimant's non-conformance with sex-stereotypes.

Types of Sex Discrimination Prohibited

Local, State, and Federal laws forbid sex discrimination in any aspect of employment, including decisions about hiring, firing, compensation, promotions, layoffs, or any other term of employment. Generally speaking, if your employment situation has been negatively impacted by actions of your employer that were motivated by your sex you may have a claim for sex discrimination.

Sexual harassment is also illegal. Specifically, it is illegal to harass someone because of that person's sex. Harassment can come in many forms, including unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, or other verbal or physically offensive actions. Such harassment does not necessarily have to be of a sexual nature and may also include making offensive remarks about men or women in general. Moreover, the harasser does not need to be the opposite sex of the victim.

Despite the broad definitions that may apply to sex discrimination or harassment, the law does not typically provide relief for simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that can't be shown to be extremely serious standing on their own. Nonetheless, the cumulative effect of such behavior may arise to illegal harassment when it becomes so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile of offensive work environment or it becomes the cause of an adverse employment action. 


If you believe you have been the subject of illegal sex discrimination, you should talk to an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines for filing most claims, and an attorney can help you determine whether the facts and circumstances of your case merit further action.

If you're ready to schedule an appointment with an Arizona employment attorney, give us a call at 602-256-6400, or submit your inquiry online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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