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Possible employment discrimination based on gender

DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-)What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
My fiance was recently not rehired for her job (at-will employment) that she's had for eight months due to, allegedly, budget considerations.

She worked as a substitute teacher for an afterschool program that covered various schools in the county. She'd fill in for anyone having to call in sick, that were going on vocation, or had to quit/be fired. In January, she was promised that she would be informed when a permanent position opened up.

Come April, she caught wind that someone at a particular school was going to quit in the near future. However, her boss never mentioned it to her- and hired a brand new male teacher (same qualifications) instead. This rubbed my finace the wrong way, of course, but she didn't want to rock the boat at the time.

As Summer approached, she was scheduled for several weeks of summer camp, which was cancelled due to low enrollment. We had to float on a very limited income (we now owe our landlord two months rent and counting), with the impression left by her employer that she had a good chance of regaining a position at the afterschool program when the school year started in September.

Two weeks ago, after hearing nothing from her boss she sent a couple of worried e-mails to ask what was going on. Last week, she finally received a response- two sentences saying that she no longer had a position there and wishing her good luck on her job hunt. That response didn't really offer an explanation, so she asked again through a couple of voice mails + an additional e-mail. She just received a longer response complementing her job performance, but saying she couldn't be rehired due to enrollment concerns. Furthermore, they stated employment was dependent on Seniority, Enrollment, and on-site Budget.

We're doing some studying up on gender discrimination for the time being, but she's wants to inquire about who is still working at her former job. If they retained male teachers of the same qualifications that were hired AFTER her, do we have a possible case of gender discrimination based on the "Disparate Impact" of their hiring policy?

Maybe we're overreacting, but her former boss has been remarkably tight-lipped, which is alarming.

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  • darqnessdarqness KCMORegistered User regular
    Is it possible that they are paying the male teacher less? Thus lining up with their budget considerations?

  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    She was told that all teacher are paid the same, and that is based on the educational requirements for their position. TAs are paid less, but are not required to have the same qualifications. As a drawback, they are not allowed to supervise the kidlets alone.

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  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    It's a standard pay based on employment length.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Does the school employ a disproportionate amount of men?

    In my experience teachers skew heavily female.

    Without showing some kind of pattern this would be an almost impossible issue to take anywhere.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    You really, really need to talk to an appropriate lawyer if you suspect discrimination is at play. Don't just study up and ask the internet. Get your documentation together, get a consultation with someone qualified, and ask them these questions.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Former bosses are always tight lipped. It's a universal thing when you've been fired/downsized/let go/ euphemism of your choice.
    Probably to prevent an ex-boss from accidentally letting slip that yeah, you got canned for a reason that could generate a lawsuit.

    Ceres said it better then I could, but go see a lawyer.

  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    Noted. Her parents have a lawyer, so she'll see if she can utilize him.
    Does the school employ a disproportionate amount of men?

    In my experience teachers skew heavily female.

    Without showing some kind of pattern this would be an almost impossible issue to take anywhere.

    Men tend to get favored for jobs involving school-age children because they rarely apply for those jobs

    there's also some unsubstantiated beliefs floating around children "need" to have men around

    the rarity is one of the reasons I was hired for the after school job I once had, as I was living as a male at the time

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  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    Oh, forgot.

    Thank yoooooou! <3

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  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Yeah ZestRegistered User regular
    I'm interested in what you find out regarding this, as the whole 'gender discrimination' for jobs thing has always seemed a bit strange to me. I've never seen a dude working at Hooters wearing short shorts (and I've been to Hooters twice!), and I've never seen a female high school football coach, and I assume there are legal justifications for both of these specific issues.

    Or maybe I should just shut up. Please let me know if that's the case and I'm just being stupid.

  • KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    Talk to a lawyer, but having "the same qualifications" is completely ... hard to substantiate? Maybe they both went to the same amount of school, but that doesn't decide if a person is a good employee or is personable or has better people skills or impresses more in an interview or whatever. People will be hired if they seem like better candidates for a job, regardless of arbitrary "qualifications."

  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    Dubh wrote: »
    there's also some unsubstantiated beliefs floating around children "need" to have men around

    unsubstantiated how? for example, the need for literate male role-models is very well documented and i don't think a hiring principal would be doing their job right if that concern was no consideration whatsoever. it's a complex issue and as another teacher struggling to move from insecure relief work to a permanent position i feel for your partner, but the answer isn't to get bitter and clutch at straws.

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  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    This is absolutely not the place for that sort of discussion.

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  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    sure it is. we're talking about recruitment decisions in the education industry, and it's not as simple as 'i came first - the job should be mine!'

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Without stepping into the argument here...

    School districts are BIZARRELY political, to the point where it is clearly a detriment to the students. However, it doesn't seem like you have strong evidence for a case out the gate, and I've NEVER seen someone succeed in playing this game in a school district. I've got plenty of family that are teachers, and the ones that play the political game well have succeeded, the ones that haven't are out of work.

    Talk to a lawyer for sure to see if he thinks he sees a case. Also, think carefully about whether she'll ever be able to find a teaching job again if she brings a lawsuit against a school district. Not just in the short term, but in terms of making a career out of teaching.

    What is this I don't even.
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Dubh wrote: »
    Two weeks ago, after hearing nothing from her boss she sent a couple of worried e-mails to ask what was going on. Last week, she finally received a response- two sentences saying that she no longer had a position there and wishing her good luck on her job hunt. That response didn't really offer an explanation, so she asked again through a couple of voice mails + an additional e-mail. She just received a longer response complementing her job performance, but saying she couldn't be rehired due to enrollment concerns. Furthermore, they stated employment was dependent on Seniority, Enrollment, and on-site Budget.

    ...her former boss has been remarkably tight-lipped, which is alarming.

    This is desperate and extremely unprofessional. She should have stopped at the "You no longer work here" email. The reason employers don't say anything is they are not your friends and anything they say could be used against them in litigation.

    We're doing some studying up on gender discrimination for the time being, but she's wants to inquire about who is still working at her former job. If they retained male teachers of the same qualifications that were hired AFTER her, do we have a possible case of gender discrimination based on the "Disparate Impact" of their hiring policy?

    I am not a lawyer and it's been years and years since I took employment law, but I'm pretty sure you are using Disparate Impact incorrectly. Disparate impact is more like (but still probably far off the mark, again, IANAL) a school district having a policy of only hiring blonde teachers which just so happens to exclude non-white people.

    Try and find a labor lawyer and, yes, get all your documentation together.

    Deebaser on
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    (i'll note that having done a bit of freshing up in the last twenty minutes the recent evidence does not generally support the idea that male teachers' modeling capacity has a big impact on school performance; even so, if it's a misconception, it's a widely spread one in education, and hotly debated. using the idea as part of a hiring decision would be less discriminatory than a little dated.)

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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    It's far more likely that the male teacher who was hired instead is friends with somebody or has some other connection than it is that they made a hiring decision based on gender. Politics are a thing in any workplace and any profession.

    Additionally, as has been pointed out, the teaching profession skews heavily female.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Can you prove gender discrimination? From what has been shared I don't think you can.
    Dubh wrote: »
    Two weeks ago, after hearing nothing from her boss she sent a couple of worried e-mails to ask what was going on. Last week, she finally received a response- two sentences saying that she no longer had a position there and wishing her good luck on her job hunt.

    This means the position has been filled and she is not filling it. They are going to respond in such a way as to minimize exposure to litigation. They don't actually owe you any explanation for why they did what they did, and commenting on that only exposes them further.

    It sounds like she was a contract worker, and she wasn't rehired or her contract was vacated. I think you're going to have a really tough time proving that gender bias was the reason.

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    You could always contact your state's EEOC office and see what they have to say.

  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    We're going to be talking to an actual lawyer.
    zepherin wrote: »
    You could always contact your state's EEOC office and see what they have to say.

    Hmm, yeah, we might do that. We'll see where the chips land. No plan of action has been decided yet, beyond some further probing,

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  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Without stepping into the argument here...

    School districts are BIZARRELY political, to the point where it is clearly a detriment to the students. However, it doesn't seem like you have strong evidence for a case out the gate, and I've NEVER seen someone succeed in playing this game in a school district. I've got plenty of family that are teachers, and the ones that play the political game well have succeeded, the ones that haven't are out of work.

    Talk to a lawyer for sure to see if he thinks he sees a case. Also, think carefully about whether she'll ever be able to find a teaching job again if she brings a lawsuit against a school district. Not just in the short term, but in terms of making a career out of teaching.

    Well, it's the not the school district we would be challenging. The program itself is not run by the school. My fiance received her checks directly from the program. In comparison, my former afterschool job was more beholden to the district, and I was considered a school employee.

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  • PsykomaPsykoma Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Personally I'll say to anyone currently employed: never accept "You don't work here anymore" without demanding an elaboration.

    But as for advice to you, I'd say ignore anything that goes beyond "Talk to a lawyer", it'll only be heresay from people who don't know what they're talking about which may either discourage you from talking to someone who does know what they're doing or work you up for a fall.

    Psykoma on
  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    Deebaser wrote: »

    This is desperate and extremely unprofessional. She should have stopped at the "You no longer work here" email. The reason employers don't say anything is they are not your friends and anything they say could be used against them in litigation.

    Personally after reading this the first thing that popped into my head was someone who lacked decent social skills gave the answer and rather than saying "I can't inform you" tried to give the least ego impacting answer they could to spare the person's feelings. It's far easier to say "Oh the budget isn't there sorry" to a person than "We aren't happy with your performance and we want to get someone else" if your goal is to avoid any conflicts or such.

  • GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    Psykoma wrote: »
    Personally I'll say to anyone currently employed: never accept "You don't work here anymore" without demanding an elaboration.

    But as for advice to you, I'd say ignore anything that goes beyond "Talk to a lawyer", it'll only be heresay from people who don't know what they're talking about which may either discourage you from talking to someone who does know what they're doing or work you up for a fall.

    People can demand an elaboration all they want, but (especially in at-will states) all you will get is that your job is over. Anything else opens up the possibility of litigation.

    That doesn't mean you can't be polite and say "If you have any feedback for my future career, please share it with me", but if you start demanding reasons you're not doing yourself any favors.

  • naporeonnaporeon Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The important part here is the fact that we are talking about at-will employment. This means they do not have to have a reason for not rehiring her or continuing her employment, and that she is not owed any explanation at all.

    If you genuinely believe discrimination has occurred, I encourage you to pursue it. Just keep in mind that it will be very difficult to establish.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Honestly given my understanding of the demographics of the teaching profession, particularly at the elementary level; Even if they hired this guy explicitly because he was a qualified man that wouldn't be gender discrimination, it'd be a diversity hire.

    There's a near constant push to get more women into engineering, and I don't think the M:F ratio there much worse than the F:M ratio in teaching.

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  • iRevertiRevert Tactical Martha Stewart Registered User regular
    naporeon wrote: »
    The important part here is the fact that we are talking about at-will employment. This means they do not have to have a reason for not rehiring her or continuing her employment, and that she is not owed any explanation at all.

    If you genuinely believe discrimination has occurred, I encourage you to pursue it. Just keep in mind that it will be very difficult to establish.

    Once a contract is up they are under absolutely no obligation to re-hire or consider you for rehiring.

  • JurgJurg In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Pinfeldorf wrote: »
    I'm interested in what you find out regarding this, as the whole 'gender discrimination' for jobs thing has always seemed a bit strange to me. I've never seen a dude working at Hooters wearing short shorts (and I've been to Hooters twice!), and I've never seen a female high school football coach, and I assume there are legal justifications for both of these specific issues.

    Or maybe I should just shut up. Please let me know if that's the case and I'm just being stupid.

    Hooters actually did get sued, because a male was denied employment there. They argued that attractive female waitresses were part of their brand, and, you know, it kind of is. Their "product" or "experience" or whatever you want to call it WOULD be materially impacted if males were serving there. The judges agreed that, for that reason, Hooters could refuse to hire males as waiters, but the court said that they must have some other job open for males (such as working in the kitchen.)

    Related: Abercrombie and Fitch lost a similar case along racial lines. They tried to arrange it so that the only people working in the front were white, and everyone else would be left to do backroom stocking, etc. They claimed that skinny white kids was their "brand", but the courts told them to fuck themselves, since the experience of buying overpriced clothing is not really materially impacted by the race of the person selling it to you.

    Not sure about high school football coaches.

    Jurg on
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  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Yeah ZestRegistered User regular
    Yeah that's the terminology I was looking for, "brand". Thanks, Jurg.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    I can completely understand the frustration and disappointment your partner is feeling, but as someone else already said, "same qualifications" is a very vague thing. Maybe the guy interviewed better, or had connections, or a hundred of little things.

    Honestly, based on the information you have provided us, I would advise her to just move on. Whether is morally correct or not, if word got out that she's even just contemplating suing, THAT'LL probably affect her hiring chances more than anything else.

  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Honestly, based on the information you have provided us, I would advise her to just move on. Whether is morally correct or not, if word got out that she's even just contemplating suing, THAT'LL probably affect her hiring chances more than anything else.

    We're spending most of our focus on job searching right now. The investigation will wait until my fiance's parents get home, because they'll support her as needed.
    IF this is a legitimate case of gender discrimination, then just ignoring it is exactly how to ensure it continues to happen.

    It's also bizarre to see how many people are digging their feet in against an investigation. There's no way we're going to turn this mother out if there's nothing to turn.

    I don't think this thread has any mileage left. Would you please lock it, @Ceres?

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