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AB 1825 Sex Harassment Trainer

A free resource for California employers about the sexual harassment training law (AB 1825).

Sex stereotyping stupidity

Are you looking for something new for your 2009 AB 1825 sexual harassment prevention training? Here’s one idea: Teach supervisors to avoid making stupid statements based on gender stereotypes.

Often, discrimination cases based on sex stereotyping relate to “family responsibility” bias — another way of saying that employers commit sex discrimination by assuming female (and not male) workers will be family caregivers and thus less involved with their careers (see EEOC Guide to Caregiver Bias).

Of course, it’s not only women subject to sex stereotyping. For example, a 2009 case says an employer may be liable for sex discrimination because a supervisor presumed a male worker was guilty in a "he said/she said" sexual harassment situation (see 'Men Are Harassers' Is Biased).

Still, it’s female (and especially pregnant) workers who are most often subject to discrimination due to traditional beliefs about family duties. Here are several examples of stupid statements by supervisors involving illegal sex stereotyping of women workers.

  • After a woman becomes a new mother (or step-mother), don’t say: “Go home and be with your baby,” or “Mothers cannot perform as well as men, or women without children.” (see 'New Moms Should Stay Home' Is Biased)
  • Don’t deny a promotion to a mother of four saying: "It was nothing you did or didn't do. It was just that ... you have the kids.” (see 'Moms Less Involved' Is Biased)
  • Don’t ask women (but not men) about family plans, such as: "You're not going to get pregnant again, are you?” (see $2.1M for Mommy Bias)
  • Don’t give unwelcome family advice: “There is no way you can be a good mother while achieving what I aspire.” (see "Good Mother" Advice = $75K)
  • Don’t insult working women: "Mothers like you caused Columbine." (see Don't Disrespect Moms)
  • Don’t reject pregnant job applicants by saying: "Come back after you have the baby." (see "After the Baby" Costs $220K+)
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