While it didn’t take place in Indiana, people reading the news here may have been surprised to read of the judge in Manhattan who has tossed out a discrimination case filed by female Merrill Lynch trainees. The judge disagrees with the trainees claiming a particular bit of training material they were given had nothing to do with their termination. The women claimed that as part of their training they were instructed to read a book that advised women who wished to succeed to ‘stroke the egos’ of the men in the workplace and to act as their den mother or little sister rather than as an equal or even as a colleague.
The suit filed by the women alleged the book’s message was offensive and related to each being subjected to wrongful termination. However, the judge ruled that was not the case and that although the material was inappropriate it had nothing to do with why each woman was let go from her position with the company. The cause, she ruled, was related to performance and achievement testing.
This raises the question as to how women faced with inappropriate training materials in the workplace can also be expected to meet testing standards that may be based on other standards. As a hypothetical example: if women are singled out and specifically taught to be unprofessional and submissive in the workplace, is it then a fair measure of their ability to test for leadership and professionalism? Further, if the training and training materials are gender discriminatory to begin with, what recourse do the affected trainees have, particularly in an employment-at-will state such as Indiana?
This is where Indiana attorneys who specialize in employment law can be helpful. They understand the current laws regarding employment in the state, as well as any exceptions to them. Such attorneys can advise those who may have been wrongfully terminated as to their legal options.
Source: New York Post, “Judge tosses discrimination suit by female bankers over ‘Boys Club’ book,” Julia Marsh, April 25, 2014