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  1. #1
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    Dec 2017
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    Gender discrimination in male-dominated industry

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    Hello,
    I work for a Fortune 500 Company in a male-dominated industry as a salesperson. Over the past several years, I have noticed my boss handling situations one way with me, but totally opposite with my male coworkers (I'm a woman). I am the only woman on my team, and the only female salesperson in our office. Here are a few examples of what he has done:

    1. I once had a customer cancel on an event last minute due to a work emergency. The event had already been paid for, but when I turned it in on my expenses my boss made me pay it back to the company since the customer did not attend. When this happened to my male coworker he was not made to pay the company back.

    2. My male coworkers were getting promotions, even though their product lines were losing money. My product line was making money, a lot of it, so I asked for a promotion and was told "no" by my boss. I was distinguished as the top sales rep for my product line out of all reps in the USA during the same time frame that I asked for the promotion.

    3. My boss would not approve my Uber ride to and from the airport while I was traveling out of state for work. However, he approved my male coworker's Uber ride so he could attend a baseball game and not have to worry about parking his car or drinking and driving. There were no customers in the Uber ride of my coworker.

    This is just a short list of the things he has done that seem unequal and unfair. He once told me I had the strongest relationships with customers out of anyone else in our office, and that it was probably because I'm a woman. I think he's threatened by me, although I'm certainly not after his job position. There is much more to the story of why I am asking, but I want to make this as discreet as possible.

    Do you think I have a case against him?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    38,137
    I think you have a valid reason to suspect gender discrimination, yes. But you are still a long way from a lawsuit; there are steps that need to be followed and you do not get to skip any steps.

    Has any of this been reported to HR? If not, that is your first step. (For the purists I will add that yes, there are some circumstances under which this step can be skipped, but there are always risks to doing so and in this situation I would not recommend it. It's one thing if it's a small mom and pop organization with 18 employees and the harasser/discriminator is the owner; it's quite another in a large corporation which likely has policies and procedures to follow in the case of illegal treatment). Report it to HR, in person if possible, and give them a reasonable time to take any necessary action. If that stops it, fine. If not, the next step is to file a complaint with the EEOC and/or your state equal rights commission. Only after you have a right to sue letter from one or the other do you get to go to court.

    You might want to discuss everything with an employment law attorney before you go forward.


    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Sounds like you are with a large employer. Have you read your employee handbook section on reporting of discrimination?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    3
    Quote Originally Posted by PayrollHRGuy View Post
    Sounds like you are with a large employer. Have you read your employee handbook section on reporting of discrimination?
    Yes, I have read it. It's very vague and there's virtually nothing written about gender discrimination.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    1,187
    Don't worry about gender discrimination specifically. It should have what you need to do for any discrimination.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,917
    Yes, you are right in being offended at the disparity in how you were treated, but you have not been damaged to the extent that a lawsuit would even be necessary.

    Don't waste your time filing a complaint with the EEOC because they will be more concerned in finding out if there are large numbers of co-workers who have also been discriminated against, and that does not apply in your situation.

    You could have declined to pay back the expenses for the cancelled event. Work within the company to see if the Uber expense can be set up in travel expense guidelines to be approved in advance of the trip. Were you given a reason for not being given the promotion? Have you been given performance reviews so you can determine if there are any dissatisfactions with your job performance so far and has your performance as top sales rep in the USA been documented in writing in your salary reviews/job evaluations? Is it possible there was not enough money in the budget at the time you asked for a promotion? You are not getting the respect you deserve at this firm.

    Bottom line is if you do not think you will be happy in this working environment, you will be better off at another firm--send your resume to a headhunter and no doubt you will get other offers you will be more satisfied with pursuing.


  7. #7
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    Nov 2001
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    Massachusetts
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    Don't waste your time filing a complaint with the EEOC

    Oh, really? You mean she shouldn't bother filing a complaint with the appropriate regulatory agency even though doing so is MANDATORY if she ever wants to take legal action over this?

    OP, you MUST have a right to sue letter from either the EEOC or the state equivalent before you can file a lawsuit. I do not agree with Don that you do not have enough damages to bother. I am not prepared to say conclusively that you have a suit to bring, but I am far from certain that you don't either, and filing with the EEOC is not optional if you want to take legal action.

    Please discuss this with an employment law attorney and give all the details to him or her, and then make your decision.


    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    1,881
    OP ...you may or may not have a winnable point about gender discrimination ...but in terms of return on personal investment, IF you are a top revenue producer you might do far better to seek employment where your ability is better rewarded ..People who can bring n business are always in demand .


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    in the ether
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    Donít listen to dandy don saying if itís only one person the eeoc wonít bother.

    There is a situstion near me where one woman in a male majority business just won an award (cash) and was given the right to seek additional (punitive and additional compensatory) damages.

    That was a single person within the company and it had nothing to do with a pervasive attitude throughout the business. It was instituted and judge on her situstionís merits alone.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    3
    Update:

    I spoke with an employment law attorney with a large portfolio of discrimination wins. I explained the entire situation and went through the list of incidents and disparities. He said I definitely have a case, but that I had to give HR a chance to rectify the situation before I could go to the EEOC. I will be meeting with HR soon and will then update the attorney for further guidance.


  11. #11
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    Mar 2005
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    Merida, Mexico
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopSalesRep View Post
    Update:

    I spoke with an employment law attorney with a large portfolio of discrimination wins. I explained the entire situation and went through the list of incidents and disparities. He said I definitely have a case, but that I had to give HR a chance to rectify the situation before I could go to the EEOC. I will be meeting with HR soon and will then update the attorney for further guidance.
    Your attorney told you exactly the same thing that cbg told you. Glad you spoke to a good attorney!


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Best of luck to you. Let us know how it goes!


    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
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