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Men and women should be evaluated by the same objective criteria

A recent case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contends that a woman at a group of motorcycle dealerships had to meet requirements for a promotion that men could bypass. This, the EEOC says, is illegal gender discrimination.

lawsuit, which was brought in August, a female sales manager at Ferman Management Services in Florida was required to participate in a mentorship program in order to be eligible for promotion to general manager. Between 2012 and 2015, however, nine different men were promoted to general manager at a Ferman dealership without having to participate in the mentorship program.

As part of the program, the female applicant was required to write book reports and letters of appreciation to her co-workers. She was also told to meet regularly with a company vice president who, according to the EEOC, frequently rescheduled or failed to appear.

This isn’t the only example of women being denied promotions, especially in traditionally male-dominated positions. The EEOC recently settled a claim with an auto dealership, also in Florida, for $150,000. There, a female assistant parts manager with 10 years of experience was told she was the most qualified candidate for a parts manager position, but was told not to apply because the job “needed a man.”

On top of paying the woman $150,000, the dealership must also provide three years of annual training on how to recruit, interview, and hire without discrimination. Moreover, the dealership’s general manager will personally have to deliver a message to his entire workforce about the importance of diversity and equal employment opportunity.

Civil rights laws apply to all aspects of employment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of our nation’s primary civil rights laws, prohibits workplace discrimination based on sex and gender. These protections apply to all aspects of employment, from recruitment and hiring to pay, job assignments, training, and benefits, to promotions, layoffs, and any other terms or conditions of the job.

Relying on objective standards for hiring and promotion that apply equally to all applicants is crucial, as using different criteria for male and female employees can put businesses at risk for lawsuits. In most situations, of course, various intangibles must also be assessed, such as work ethic and an ability to get along with co-workers. But objective considerations, like experience, past job performance, and measurable skills should lead the way.

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