Is this a form of workplace gender discrimination?

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Question:

I have worked more than 8 years for a small company in New Mexico. It employs 12 people. I have always received excellent job reviews and I even won "Employee of the Year" 5 times. A new supervisor began making improper sexual comments to me and trying to tell me dirty jokes. I am a female and felt uncomfortable with his actions. When he failed to stop these offensive actions after I repeatedly asked him to stop, I reported him to his supervisor for gender sexual harassment. I was promptly fired with no explanation. I suspect retaliation. Is this a form of workplace gender discrimination? I would like to sue my employer. What do I do first?

Answer:

Workplace gender discrimination is when an employee is treated differently in hiring, firing, promotions, or other employment conditions because of his or her sex (male or female). Federal law applies to all private employers, state and local government, and education institutions that employ 15 or more persons. Gender sexual harassment is a form of workplace gender discrimination such as the unwanted sexual advances and jokes your had to endure. Furthermore, being fired for making  a complaint about workplace gender discrimination and gender sexual harassment is a form of retaliation that can be illegal as well. Especially since you were immediately fired without any review of your complaint against your supervisor.

Since your place of employment only has 12 employees, Federal workplace gender discrimination law does not apply. However, New Mexico workplace gender discrimination laws apply since your employer has a minimum of 4 employees. If you are anticipating filing a lawsuit against your employer, you must first file a formal complaint with your state's fair employment agency. In your case, you must file your complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Division. Keep in mind that you must file this complaint within 180 days of the date your were discriminated against- the date you were fired.

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