Q: Discrimination during COVID 19 and sexual harassment
I was furloughed for COVID 19, and my employer said for 2 months he couldn’t afford to call me back to work. All the men in my department were back and working the whole 2 months I was gone. Now he is offering me a lower pay rate and is putting me in another department, and replaced my shift with a man. I was the only female in the department. I was not demoted, fired, or warned about the pay decrease, and I never agreed to taking less money or a different job title. This is a breach of our original contract agreement for me to work in my position making the agreed upon amount, correct ? Also.. my employer website portal still has me under the same position and pAy rate, but when I come to work they have me doing hard manual labor in the company warehouse and they tell me I’m going to be only getting 10$ now. If he can’t afford to have me back in the office, why is there a man doing my shift while I’m doing entry-level stuff now in the warehouse?
A: It sounds like you may have a claim for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To establish this claim, you have to prove you were qualified for your original job, you suffered an adverse employment action (a pay cut or demotion to a less favorable or prestigious job satisfies this requirement), and you were replaced by a male employee, which it sounds like you can establish. If you had an employment contract to perform your original position for a specified time and at a specified rate, you may also have a breach of contract claim against your employer as well (keep in mind, however, that offer letters laying out the terms of your employment and how much you'll be paid generally are not considered contracts under the law). A closer look at the provisions of your agreement would be required to determine this.
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