The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of gender in the terms and conditions of employment. Terms and conditions of employment includes salary, benefits, hours, vacations, promotions, hiring, firing or any other defining characteristic of a particular position of employment. Gender discrimination refers to situations in which an employer treats an individual or group of individual employees differently, based on their gender, whether female or male.
Generally, gender discrimination falls into two distinct categories, "disparate impact" and "disparate treatment." Disparate treatment means simply "different treatment," and is treating an individual or group of individuals differently because of his/her or their sex. Disparate impact refers to an employer's practices or a company's policy which impacts "differently" on a individual or group of individuals, depending on whether they are male or female.
If an employer has different policies based on the gender of its employees, they must be sufficiently related to the performance of the job in order not to be classified as discrimination.