A former associate at a New Jersey law firm has filed a lawsuit, claiming that she faced gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation at the firm. The suit claims that the firm required female associates to sign a confidentiality and release agreement before they could socialize with male employees outside of work. It also claims that male associates received better assignments than their female counterparts, which ultimately allowed them to take home larger bonuses. According to the suit, in 2010 the plaintiff received better work assignments after meeting a partner at one of the offices. Afterwards, however, she found out that she received the assignments because the partner thought she was physically attractive and wanted to set her up with a male associate. The suit says that the “Plaintiff was very disturbed and uncomfortable that she had only been assigned to a case because [the partner] found her attractive and wanted to set her up with one of his favored associates.” After she stopped seeing the associate, she also stopped getting assignments. She filed a gender discrimination complaint with two partners in late 2012, and was terminated in mid-2013. According to the lawsuit, she was told that she was terminated because there was a shortage of work in her department; less than a month later, a male associate was hired. Gender discrimination is a widespread problem The law requires that employers treat male and female employees equally. If your employer requires members of one gender to sign a confidentiality agreement that members of the opposite sex do not have to sign, it may be guilty of sex discrimination. Another possible indication of gender discrimination is if your employer gives better assignments to members of one sex. Carefully observe your employer’s behavior for inconsistencies If your employer suddenly stops giving you good work assignments or begins treating you differently at work, you may be facing unlawful retaliation. You should carefully record any behavior that you believe might be of interest in a legal proceeding. If you are subjected to an adverse employment action such as termination, ask your employer for the reason behind the decision. If it fails to provide an adequate reason, or if the reason contradicts its subsequent behavior, then you should contact an employment lawyer for advice immediately. Gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation are illegal Federal, state, and city laws prohibit gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Unfortunately, laws do not always deter individuals from discriminatory or harassing behavior. If you believe that you have experienced harassment, discrimination, or retaliation at work, contact the Akin Law Group at 866.685.5163.