How Gender Bias Hurts Men
Posted 10.19.15
Jonathan A. Segal

I am pleased to share with you a blog I wrote for SHRM’s HR Magazine.

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.

To read on, please click here.


About Jonathan A. Segal
Jonathan A. Segal is a partner at Duane Morris LLP in the Employment Group. He is also the managing principal of the Duane Morris Institute. The Duane Morris Institute provides training for human resource professionals, in-house counsel, and other leaders at client sites and by way of webinar on myriad employment, leadership labor, benefits and immigration topics. Jonathan has served intermittently as a consultant to the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years, providing training on employment issues to federal judges around the country. Jonathan also has provided training on harassment on behalf of the EEOC as well as providing training on diversity to members of the United States intelligence agencies. Jonathan is also frequently a featured speaker at national, state and local human resource, business and legal conferences, including conferences sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Business and Industry. Jonathan’s practice focuses on maximizing compliance and minimizing legal risk. Jonathan’s particular areas of emphasis include: equal employment opportunity in general and gender equality in particular: social media; wage and hour; performance management; talent acquisition; harassment prevention and correction; and non-competes and other ways to protect your business. You can find him on Twitter @Jonathan_HR_Law .