As adults we learn a few “truths” about life:
- There’s no such thing as a free lunch
- Too good to be true usually is
- Your pay always looks less impressive when it hits your bank account
But there are also gender specific “truths” that “everyone knows” and that some people are foolish enough to say out loud.
BAE Systems have found this to their cost.
They’ve had to pay out £360k to an ex-female employee (plus the legal costs running into hundreds of thousands) because an un-trained line manager felt it was appropriate to say: “women take things more emotionally than men”.
Now you’ll probably react to this in one of two ways:
Either you think that this comment is correct and that there’s no problem with it, or you find it demeaning and belittling.
If we approach it from the other side, making a similar comment about men “they always think with their XXXX” (fill in the blank, and it is not “brain”!) would be comparable.
Is it true?
Maybe, of some men and some situations.
Is it demeaning?
Does it imply that any decisions or opinions of men could therefore be easily dismissed because they are “emotional responses” and not a considered logical response?
What beats me is why, nowadays, people feel that these type of remarks are appropriate OR necessary.
They don’t help get the job done. They don’t motivate the team.
They might be good for a cheap laugh at the expense of a colleague, but is that something the business should be paying for? Someone to demotivate members of the team?!
Surely it is hard enough to get good staff nowadays, you don’t want to alienate the good ones you have?!
The employee in question was earning £22k and will now get a payout of £360k.
Yes, you read that right. £360,000.
Make sure your managers (and all staff) know what are appropriate comments to be made, otherwise you could be losing half your profit to an award against you for discrimination, and the other half to lawyers who couldn’t get you off the hook!
If you know of a business that could do with our help, please let us know – we always reward referrals with chocolate!