Will Working Mothers Take Your Company to Court?|
Joan C. Wiliams and Amy J.C. Cuddya|
The article, "Will Working Mothers Take Your Company to Court?" published in Harvard Business Review by Amy Cuddy and her colleague Joan C. William explores a form of workplace bias that has become surprisingly prevalent in today's organizations known as "maternal wall bias" -the bias against the employees responsible for care giving activities particularly working mothers. The article explores stereotypes as well as the potential legal and financial implications for organizations. In many organizations work environments are not yet supportive and friendly for working mothers and other caregivers. These biases particularly rooted from the assumptions about mothers’ lack of commitment to work or inability to handle a tougher load; and this resulted in considerable differences in salary and promotional opportunities. Such behavior can get the company into legal trouble; warned by the authors. In the United States, the number of family-responsibilities lawsuits has tremendously increased over the years. In federal court, the success rate of plaintiffs in these cases is high about twice as many as prevail in all employment discrimination cases. And it isn’t just mothers who are taking firms to court: Men and people caring for elderly parents are also filing suits and winning them. Executives need to be aware of the costs, which include settlements that can run into the millions, negative publicity, and the loss of valued contributors. To avoid them, they should educate themselves and their employees about the law, work to eliminate any stigma associated with caregivers, and set clear policies about family-responsibilities discrimination. From an organizational behavior point of view maternal wall bias is a perfect example of discrimination because people make judgments about working mothers and other care givers based on negative...