Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harassment and Gender Bias in the Workplace

My daughter Annie recently has had a horrible employment experience. She has been employed as a veterinary tech. at a clinic for the past nearly three years, working her way up. Recently, her boss asked her to take on a higher-level, more demanding position which she agreed to do. He asked her what she had to have for pay, she stated an amount, and he readily agreed. Lately, he came to her and said, "I must have been out of my mind to agree to pay you that amount. You're just a 24-year-old girl and you're not worth that amount of money." Whereupon she said, "Okay, I'll go back to my old job and rate of pay, but I will not do the additional management work that you agreed to pay me more to do." We think that he figured he could get her to do the extra work at the old rate of pay. After that, her employer turned her situation into what is called a "hostile work environment" by harassing her verbally. She still refused to quit, so he fired her without a basis for cause. He would not give her a letter stating the reasons for her termination. There's a lot more to this story, but this employer has a history of gender bias, verbal harassment, falsification of documents and other nasty habits. Annie is pretty feisty, and I think this time her now-former employer has picked on the wrong blue-eyed, 115 pound feline gorilla. She has found an attorney to take on her case on the basis of wrongful termination, harassment, gender bias, and some other things. She is out to punish her former employer the only way it counts, by taking money away from him and hoping that it will discourage such behavior in the future for other employees.

When people work for a large outfit, like an airplane company, or a public employer like the government, they have human resources offices (we used to call them a "personnel office") that monitors misbehavior on the part of employees and managers, and it's a place where you can take legimate problems for rectification. On the other hand, when a person works for a small, private business, if they have problems of the sort I describe above, they're on your own. If you're dealing with an unreasonable boss in the first place, it's doubtful you're going to make any headway with them on your own after things go sour.

I have three children, one son and two daughters. I want all of my children to be happy and successful. It's just beyond my comprehension how some of the other societies place low values on daughters. I'm thinking of places like Japan, China, the Arab countries, and so on where women count for less than men in general, and daughters take a distant back seat. What's wrong with those men who they don't want the same amount of success and happiness in life for their daughters as they do for their sons!??

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