Employment Discrimination “Because of Sex”: Then and Now

(729 Ratings)

Produced on: March 06, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 92 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Since its last-minute addition to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the provision banning employment discrimination “because of sex” has been in a near-constant state of evolution. Taught by Gillian Thomas, Senior Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, and Mariann Meier Wang, Partner at Cuti Hecker Wang LLP, this program introduces the participant to the landmark decisions that still form the basis for Title VII sex discrimination claims, and highlights how they have been interpreted in recent years to address emerging forms of bias. Ms. Thomas and Ms. Meier Wang explore workplace sex discrimination claims in three main areas: pregnancy and motherhood, sex stereotypes, and sexual harassment.

As to pregnancy and motherhood, the course gives an overview of the provisions of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, as well as other federal laws that are implicated in pregnancy discrimination claims, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), with reference to applicable state and local laws, as well.

As to sex stereotypes, the presenters trace the extensive Supreme Court precedent disapproving employers’ reliance on all manner of sex stereotypes, up to and including its landmark decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989). That ruling’s implications with respect to Title VII claims by LGBT employees are also explained.

Last, Ms. Thomas and Ms. Meier Wang address current standards applicable to sexual harassment cases, including standards for imposing supervisor liability. They further discuss reference to emerging forms of harassment, such as through social media and other electronic media.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Gain a basic understanding of the major precedents governing sex discrimination claims under Title VII, as well as relevant EEOC guidance
  2. Understand the interplay among the PDA, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, and state laws in defining employer obligations toward pregnant and parenting workers
  3. Discuss the broad prohibition on sex stereotypes as criteria for decision making, and how such prohibition is applied to LGBTQ employees
  4. Learn the substantive standards defining sexual harassment, employer obligations in preventing and remedying harassment
  5. Raise awareness of unconscious bias as a motivating factor among employees and decision-makers alike


Gillian Thomas

American Civil Liberties Union

ACLU Women’s Rights Project Senior Staff Attorney Gillian Thomas specializes in sex discrimination in employment and has litigated such cases for nearly 15 years, including at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). Her book, Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work, was published in early 2016 by St. Martin’s Press.  Ms. Thomas also speaks and writes frequently about employment discrimination. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and Slate.

Mariann Meier Wang

Cuti Hecker Wang LLP

Mariann Wang is an experienced trial lawyer and partner in the law firm of Cuti Hecker Wang LLP. Her practice focuses on civil rights litigation, including sexual and racial assaults and harassment, retaliation, childhood sexual abuse, employment and housing discrimination, labor law violations, police misconduct, First Amendment, prisoners' rights, and sexual orientation discrimination, and on general commercial litigation, including contract and tort disputes. She has served as both individual and class counsel for systemic allegations seeking both monetary damages and injunctive relief. Prior to founding Cuti Hecker Wang, Ms. Wang worked at the ACLU, a large New York City commercial firm, an international human rights law group in London, and was a partner at a small civil rights boutique.  


Michelle M.

Excellent command of the subject matter and presentation.

Lorien Elizabeth S.

really interesting topic, well presented, enjoyed the speakers

Katherine H.

This is an interesting presentation.

William G.

Excellent historical overview

Jordan S.

Good content.

Meredith W.

Great course!

Stacey T.

They were outstanding.

Mary E.

Expansive view of the law

Lisa W.

Excellent discussion and well-organized to cover a lot of territory.

Judith A.

Excellent program. Best I've taken so far. Very effective presenters. Informative and useful content.

Henry G.

Excellent course and speakers.

steven w.

very practical examples

Sasha Q.

Great material!!

Deborah R.

Very thorough and informative

Robert N.

Well done

Robert M.

First rate presentation concerning various kinds of Title V11 employer based discrimination

Chris R.

As someone who does not regularly practice in this area, this seminar was fascinating.

Susan W.

Timely. Excellent speakers

David M.

Excellent content from top notch presenters.

Fred J.

very well done

Samuel S.

Excellent program.

Joseph L.

Excellent. Relevant, well covered.

Lauren S.

Very informative and very well presented

Michele W.

Great content.

Darryl B.

Very good program!

Anne R.

Great presentation. Chock-full of info.

Kenneth R.

Excellent program!

Susan T.

Employment cases are excellent

Benjamin H.

very informative

Kristin T.

extremely thorough discussion of all areas of this type of discrimination. I practice in this area and still learned several new angles to this litigation.

Kellien L.

The best CLE on Lawline.

Jack S.

Outstanding survey of the applicable law.

Ellen H.

Really appreciated this CLE course. It was basic enough for someone who had limited knowledge in this area and gave lots of resources.

Timothy D.


Todd B.

interesting topic.

Susan J.

Excellent content and informative written materials.

Christina M.

Very well done.

Megan S.


Eve R.

Thank you.

Marlene B.

The presenters were easy to understand.

Jeanette C.

The interactive slide presentation was easy to follow. I especially liked that I could minimize the video production and maximize the slides. The downloadable pdf was also helpful. Well done.

Skye R.

really good program

Brittany M.

Enjoyed the subject. Found both speakers to be knowledgeable and jumped in at helpful times to supplement one another.

josh f.

presenters were excellent and very knowledgeable.

Thomas H.

The program broke down the law on sex-based discrimination very well. For someone unfamiliar with employment, I found it very easy to follow.

Victoria I.

I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation!

Pamela M.

wish it was longer

Rita O.

I like the two person format and enjoyed the conversational tone of this

Julie A. B.

A masterful glide through the straits of employment discrimination "because of sex" with pitch-perfect dialogue. These popular and well-regarded speakers are also attorneys of real distinction who artfully weave intriguing case examples into their relaxed conversation.

Michael S.

Excellent Presentation!

Diane H.

Excellent program

William S.

Thank you for a fine presentation.

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