November 29, 2020

If You Aren’t Getting the Work-Life Balance You Want, Maybe You Should Sue

This Fortune piece is probably just one big troll but if not, this could be a reality at an accounting firm near you:

A slew of gender discrimination lawsuits coming out of big banks point to something we all already know: women in finance don’t have it easy.

A male-dominated industry notorious for its long hours and inflexible work schedules, finance rarely leaves room for “work-life balance.” Almost every major U.S. bank has been sued on grounds of gender discrimination. Despite the common understanding of the problem, the cases typically settle out of court, and company cultures rarely becomes [sic] more hospitable to women.

Yet, as more working mothers enter the workforce demanding career structures that allow them to raise their family while advancing up the corporate ladder, the tides may be forced to change. Legally.

Ah, the American Way: LAWYER UP.

Under U.S. employment law, any workplace rule that isn’t a “business necessity” cannot disproportionately affect one group more than another. It is reasonable to assume that women, as the primary childcare givers in most U.S. households, take on a majority of the tasks associated with running the home. As a result, any industry that prevents employees from adopting popular work-life-balance solutions — like working part-time or working from home — could be interpreted as illegal under U.S. employment law, says Marcia McCormick, the co-director of the Wefel Center for Employment Law at Saint Louis University School of Law .

Whoa whoa, hold it right there, Norman Rockwell. What's the phrase about assuming? It makes an ass out of u and me? In this case, just u. First, there are plenty of progressive dudes picking up the slack at home, some of whom work for notoriously un-work-lifey professions themselves such as — hey, you guessed it — public accounting. Second, you're automatically assuming all women A) have children B) expect to ascend the career ladder at the same pace as their male and childless counterparts and C) even want to ascend the career ladder like a bad ass at all.

If a working mother (or father, for that matter, since if we're going to open up this can of worms, we must open it up for all because INCLUSION) sues to work from home or work part-time, then why can't childless singles do the same?

High-profile industries other than finance are also facing legal action right now against female workers. AlixPartners LLP, a restructuring firm that advises struggling companies, was recently sued for sex discrimination by a former employee who claims she was wrongly demoted and encouraged to not go after certain promotions after becoming pregnant. The restructuring industry, which often requires late-night conversation amongst bondholders to have all the essential players in the room makes it difficult for women to do their jobs while having a newborn. Under the law, AlixPartners will now be charged with proving rules like this are essential to succeeding at the job.

Alright, I'm going to go ahead and troll as hard as this article is, potential for flaming be damned. As most of you know, I foster cats. Right now, it's the peak of kitten season. This means I have kittens coming out of my ears. A few weeks back, we pulled a litter of tiny orphans from a local rural shelter that were going to be killed due to the fact that they needed to be bottle fed. So, as much as I dislike kittens (they are gross and dirty), and as much as I really dislike bottlefed kittens (they are gross and dirty and needy), I took them in. Baby kittens need to be fed round the clock, every two hours, just like human newborns. They need to be burped (I'm not kidding, Google it) and they even need help going to the bathroom (Google that at your own risk, it's gross). Now, thankfully I have a fairly flexible job, but imagine if I were in finance, gunning for a high profile job, working 80 hour weeks and then BAM, sorry, I need to work part-time from home because the kittens need me. Oh, but I still expect that promotion I spent the last three years working my ass to the bone for. And if you don't give it to me, I will sue!

Again, that scenario is ridiculous because kittens < human children. But hey, this article is ridiculous. It suggests that if women are not allowed to crank out kids and offered the same opportunities as their counterparts who can put in the time and energy toward promotion, then it must be discrimination. Believe it or not, there are working mothers who understand that sacrifices must be made to balance a family and a career and don't expect special treatment.

As far as I know, you can either have kittens or make partner. You can't have it both ways.

 

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