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‘Sex-plus’ discrimination claims hard to prove

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

When an employee alleges that she was treated differently than a member of the opposite sex, that’s a regular sex discrimination claim. But if she says she was treated differently on account of the combination of her sex and some other characteristic, that’s called a “sex-plus” claim.

Employees who sue must show that the employer gave preferential treatment to a member of the opposite sex with the same second characteristic.

Recent case: Christal Fox worked for a nursing home; her husband was the administrator. The day he was fired, she was, too. She sued, alleging she had been terminated because of her sex and marital status.

The court dismissed the case, reasoning that Fox would have to show that a male married to a fired female employee didn’t lose his job when Fox did. (Fox, et al., v. Brown Memorial Home, No. 2:09-CV-915, SD OH, 2010)

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