You may think that in 2014, discrimination in the workplace based on gender would be a relic from the past. However, a man who worked as a best boy grip on Grey’s Anatomy for over 10 years has filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired from the show because he complained about a pattern of gender discrimination and harassment.
The lawsuit alleges that the director of photography, Herb Davis, displayed a lot of contempt for female employees. The employee said that although Davis had a reputation for great work, he began having an issue with female directors and staff who had high-level positions within the show.
According to the lawsuit, Davis held women directors to a higher standard than men directors. He allegedly routinely tried to humiliate female directors by questioning whether or not they were competent, and by making sexist jokes about them. He also allegedly often called them idiots or knuckleheads and said they weren’t qualified. He would refuse to give women the equipment they requested, or would delay, which would cause the show to go over budget. Allegedly, three of the female directors complained about Davis.
The plaintiff, a male employee, also complained to two other male directors about Davis. According to the lawsuit, the male directors told him they had heard similar complaints before about Davis. After the complaints were made, the Davis’s behavior only worsened. Davis was upset with the male employee for speaking out, and the man took his complaints to human resources. Human resources assured him that he would not be retaliated against for speaking out. However, his contract was not renewed for the following season. He sued, seeking damages including his lost income and money for the emotional distress and mental pain he has endured.
Although gender discrimination may have been common in the past, today there are federal and state laws to prevent it. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act all protect men and women from being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, or from wage discrimination based on sex.
Those laws make it illegal to discriminate against a person because of his or her gender or sex in any aspect of employment. This includes pay, hiring, firing, layoffs, promotion, benefits, and other conditions of employment. Some examples of illegal sex discrimination include calling someone names in the workplace because of their gender, firing women because they become pregnant, or retaliating against an employee because they fired a complaint about gender harassment in the workplace, such as occurred in this situation.
Women aren’t the only ones who can be discriminated against. Men can be discriminated against the in workplace as well. An example is promoting a less-qualified woman to CEO rather than a more qualified man solely because of sex, in order to make the company look more diverse for public-relations purposes.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that an employee should be judged based on his or her performance, not gender. If someone is discriminated against in the workplace because of gender, that person has the right to seek compensation, which may include back wages, benefits, emotional distress, and more.
If you are in the San Francisco area and you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your gender, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland Employment Discrimination Attorney, at Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with clients in the Oakland-San Francisco area, including Oakland, San Francisco, Hayward, Berkeley, Tracy, Fairfield, and San Jose. Call to learn more about your legal options.