• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Any stereotypes of workers–even positive ones–can spark discrimination lawsuits

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Typically, employees who file discrimination lawsuits try to show they were treated poorly because of preconceived notions about their protected category (age, religion, sex, disability status, etc.).

For example, a 60-year-old may claim that his supervisor’s stereotypical view that older workers are slow led to his firing.

But be aware of this twist: Stereotypes that seem positive at first blush can also be the basis for discrimination claims.

Recent case: Valerie Taylor, a sales rep for a heating and cooling company, missed almost a year of work recovering from a car accident. Upon her return, she was assigned to a different territory, meaning she had to drive farther. Plus, she was expected to develop her own client list—something she never had to do before.

Taylor complained. Her boss told her she shouldn’t have any trouble because women have an easier time developing clients than men do.

When her sales prowess didn’t measure up, Taylor was fired. She sued, alleging sex discrimination.

She has no case, the company argued, because her supervisor’s comment was a positive thing, not a negative stereotype about the abilities of women.

The court disagreed and ordered a trial. It said that relying on stereotypes about gender is the crux of sex discrimination, not whether those stereotypes are positive or negative.

Because the supervisor believed women naturally develop relationships better, he denied her access to tools—such as a customer list—that male salespeople received. That contributed to her failure and could serve as the basis for a successful sex discrimination claim. (Taylor v. Temp-Air, No. 09-C-5533, ND IL, 2010)

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/13384/any-stereotypes-of-workers-even-positive-ones-can-spark-discrimination-lawsuits "

Leave a Comment