The majority of gender discrimination lawsuits in Boston and throughout the country are initiated by women who have been treated unfairly.
However, there are some businesses and even industries in which men are the ones being singled out for unfavorable treatment due to their sex. (As a side note, transgender discrimination is also forbidden under federal law. The EEOC has held that discrimination against transgender employees is based on their sex, and is thus forbidden under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)
There have been a handful of recent examples to illustrate how men have been excluded from jobs, denied promotions, given unequal pay and even been fired because of their gender.
One of those was a case out of Florida at a dating service that, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, refused to hire men and also reportedly retaliated against a manager who spoke out against this kind of discrimination.
The company had been in business for approximately two decades and, during that time, the firm “wouldn’t even consider” hiring men to serve as dating directors and inside sales representatives. The primary function of these positions was to “fix up” single men and women for romantic dates.
Company representatives openly took the stance that “men weren’t suited to do this work” and that clientele preferred working with female representatives.
The fact that the company was so open about it just goes to show that male gender discrimination is not viewed in the same light as female gender discrimination. It’s somehow seen as less serious or as having less of a negative impact on those involved. That’s clearly not the case.
In 2009, the dating service’s female human services director made it clear to company leaders that she opposed the company’s no-male employee policy. She told the senior executives flat-out that it was not only wrong, but against the law. Two days later, she was fired.
That former human resources director will receive $131,000 of a $900,000 settlement agreement recently reached by the company and the EEOC. The rest of the money is going to be secured in a fund for access by men who were turned down for jobs over the years. It’s unclear how many that might include, though it seems several thousand applied for sales positions through online job websites. Though we don’t know how many qualified applicants were actually processed and then turned down on the basis of their gender.
Federal law does allow (very narrowly) that certain positions may be held only by one sex if gender is a “bona fide occupational qualification.” Some examples of that might be a Hooters Girl or a washroom attendant. However, being a sales representative at a dating service isn’t one of them.
Another recent male gender discrimination case involved a suit filed against the federal government’s immigration enforcement agency last year. The employee alleged that he was turned down for a high-level position with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency in favor of a less-qualified female employee. He said his boss had made it clear she favored female workers. The employee said he suffered retaliation when he threatened to file a complaint of discrimination.
He added that the work environment was sexually-charged and hostile toward men.
The boss in question resigned, and the employee received a settlement of $175,000.
The Brown Law Firm, LLC has offices in Belmont and Boston. For a free and confidential consultation, call 617-489-0817 or contact us online.
Hallandale Beach dating company to pay $900,000 for not hiring male sales reps, July 22, 2013, By Steve Rothaus, Miami Herald
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