How Gender Bias Hurts Men

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on sex, which effectively means gender. Those who assume that this prohibition protects only women are sorely mistaken: It applies to men as well.

That’s not to say that women don’t bear the brunt of gender discrimination. Fifty years after the enactment of Title VII, they are still unacceptably underrepresented in corporate senior leadership positions and on boards, and it is beyond argument that there are clear business benefits to attaining gender diversity at all levels. But discriminating against men is not the way to get there.

Favoring Women

Assume an employer has seven members on its senior leadership team—all men. When one retires, you see a great opportunity to increase gender diversity by hiring a woman. Is that an acceptable strategy?

No, it’s not. While that impulse might come from a good place, you cannot reserve a position; doing so would be per se gender discrimination.

What about favoring a woman in the hiring decision? That is giving her a “plus.” Generally speaking, the federal courts have said “no” except under extremely narrow circumstances.

Continue reading… SHRM

by Jonathan A. Segal

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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