Workplace discrimination against women, especially those with any sort of care-giving responsibilities, can be subtle.
But sometimes it’s so obvious, all you can do is shake your head like Scooby-Doo and say, “RUH??”
That’s what lawyer Alyson Kirleis found herself confronted with as a shareholder in a Pittsburgh law firm. But instead of seeing her firm responsibilities grow as as one of the firm’s owners, they started to shrink — partly because she says her more senior male counterparts thought she was spending too much time at the office and not enough time taking care of her two children.
You heard me.
Kirleis’ colleagues — her business partners — told her, as she claims in her lawsuit against the firm for discrimination, that her priorities were skewed because “women whose priorities were straight were those who relinquished their status as shareholders in the firm and who worked part-time … to be able to spend more time with their husbands and children.”
As if it’s not bad enough that women are getting passed up for promotions and high quality work when it’s perceived that their parental obligations somehow intrude on office time, now one woman lawyer believes she’s being treated unfairly because she’s spending too much time developing her law practice.
I don’t know about you, but I think this goes way past discrimination and is just a trip back into the dark ages. The thing that makes this particular case odd is that Kirleis isn’t just an employee who gets a salary — she’s one of the owners of the law firm and has worked for this firm for close to 20 years.
So, if you’d given your professional blood, sweat and tears to the same firm or company or boss for your prime professional development years, and they cut back on your opportunities because they thought you were a bad mother, what would you do?