Sometime next Spring the Supreme Court will announce its decision on whether Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination implicitly includes LGBTQ employees. It’s poised to be the biggest employment law case of the past three decades. And not just because LGBTQ discrimination is such a hot-button, high-profile issue.
One of the issues the Department of Justice has asked SCOTUS to revisit is whether Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination encompasses sex-based stereotypes.
That “sex stereotyping” is no different than “sex discrimination” has been the law of the land since the Supreme Court decided Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins 30 years ago.
When women speak, they shouldn’t be shrill. Clothing must flatter, but short skirts are a no-no. After all, “sexuality scrambles the mind.” Women should look healthy and fit, with a “good haircut” and “manicured nails.” …
The 55-page presentation, used during the day-and-a-half seminar on leadership and empowerment, was given to HuffPost by an attendee who was appalled by its contents. Full of out-of-touch advice, the presentation focused on how women need to fix themselves to fit into a male-dominated workplace.
Women were also given a “Masculine/Feminine Score Sheet,” on which they rated their “adherence to stereotypical masculine and feminine characteristics both on the job and outside the office.” “Masculine” traits included acting like a leader, aggressiveness, and ambitiousness, while “female” traits included cheerfulness, compassion, and loving children.
According to one attendee, the training made her “feel like a piece of meat.” And while I hope that wasn’t E&Y’s intent, it nevertheless is emblematic of a failure of culture at that employer that caused such training to be provided at all. And, yes, in case I didn’t make the point clearly enough, it’s also illegal (at least for now).