Men may be from Mars and women may be from Venus (to make a quip from the title of that bestselling 1992 book by John Gray), but here on earth and in the United States, robust workplace anti-discrimination laws demand that men and women be treated equally. That means equal treatment in hiring, promotion, and performance management. It also means a decision-making manager cannot be motivated by his or her subordinate’s gender or conformance to sex stereotypes when making the decision to let that employee go.
So what does sex discrimination look like as we approach the year 2020 in Minnesota? It’s often more subtle than the Madmen culture of the 1960s (but not always—see various accusations against banking, finance, and tech companies today). Subtle or obvious, discrimination is still discrimination and discrimination is still illegal.
A commonly emerging scenario might look like this: a longtime female, top-performing middle manager begins reporting to a new boss, a younger outwardly confident man. Her success over the years might be attributable to a management style marked by quiet confidence and humility. Then, without more than an introductory, 30-minute meeting, the new, brassy male manager begins papering the woman’s file for alleged poor performance, contravening countless company policies on how managers are supposed to review and critique subordinate employees.
The longtime female manager is left dumbfounded and confused. How could this be? Why is he doing this?
Victims of sex discrimination in the workplace need strong advocates who can see through the “papered-up file” and discern what’s really going on. Employment lawyers use all the circumstances that don’t add up to prove that what’s really at play here is simply discrimination.
If you think you are facing sex discrimination in the workplace, it might be worth your while to start with one of our 20-minute, Free Phone Evaluations to see if there’s something that can be done to make the situation right, get you out of a bad spot, or make you whole for a wrongful termination.