Reminder: Sex Discrimination is NOT the Solution to Sexual Harassment

Reminder: Sex Discrimination is NOT the Solution to Sexual Harassment

A new article in
Bloomberg
 details an unusual (to put it diplomatically)
strategy that some male executives in the financial sector are
using to avoid claims of sexual harassment:


No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them
on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one
meetings.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these
days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said
the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies
for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for
women.

[ . . . ]

A manager in infrastructure investing said he won’t meet with
female employees in rooms without windows anymore; he also keeps
his distance in elevators. A late-40-something in private equity
said he has a new rule, established on the advice of his wife, an
attorney: no business dinner with a woman 35 or younger.

The changes can be subtle but insidious, with a woman, say,
excluded from casual after-work drinks, leaving male colleagues to
bond, or having what should be a private meeting with a boss with
the door left wide open.

The full article itself is
well worth a read.
  It details the results of Bloomberg’s
anonymous interviews with over 30 financial sector leaders about
how these leaders are conducting themselves in light of the #MeToo
movement.  Bloomberg’s reporters, Gillian Tan and Katia
Porzecanski, conclude that many of the individuals they surveyed
are “spooked” about the possibility of being caught up in
sexual harassment or sexual assault allegations and, as a result,
are “walking on eggshells” at work.

The apparent solution that some executives are adopting, as
relayed by Bloomberg, is to simply remove women from the equation,
in an effort to avoid any allegations.  The results, described
above, appear to lead to per se or de facto exclusion of female
colleagues and subordinates from many opportunities.

At the risk of stating the obvious: this “solution”
is no solution at all.  In fact, this misguided attempt to avoid
liability for sexual harassment risks creating liability for sex
discrimination. 

Indeed, systematically removing women from hiring and mentorship
opportunities and meetings or treating female subordinates
differently from male subordinates creates serious risks of sex
discrimination claims under both the disparate treatment and
disparate impact theories where the treatment at question rises to
the level of an adverse employment action.  And if the exclusion
is sufficiently severe or pervasive, it may even create sexual
harassment liability under the hostile workplace theory.

In short: don’t follow the advice of these anonymous
executives to reduce workplace harassment.  Instead, participate
in regular anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings,
foster a respectful and professional workplace, and don’t use sex
as a basis to make decisions in the workplace.

https://ift.tt/2KULN4t

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s