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Subject:Re: Workplace Discrimination From:John Hedtke <jhedtke -at- OZ -dot- NET> Date:Thu, 21 Mar 1996 20:08:12 GMT
Tim Altom <taltom -at- iquest -dot- net> wrote:
>At 08:40 AM 3/19/96 -0600, you wrote:
>Nope, never had that question, but I'd be surprised if I had. By the same
>token, I'm not surprised that you got it, and for a twisted but legitimate
>In most families, the wife is usually stuck with handling the kid-chores. Of
>course there are exceptions, but they test the rule, they don't dismantle
>it. Men know this. Many of us aren't proud of it, but we're all aware of it.
>Therefore, there is strange and twisted legitimacy to the prospective
>client's question. He knows that if there's a sick kid in the house, you may
>well get stuck with it.
>Was he morally or legally in the wrong for saying that to you? Well,
>legally, he was dealing with another company, not a prospective employee, so
>the law is much laxer than it might be otherwise. As for morally, that's in
>the eye of the beholder. As a businessperson myself, I can see his point,
>although I think it's a specious one and not one I'd bring up. But if you're
>a solo practitioner (and I assume you are) then you'll have to learn to live
>with these sorts of checklist items. After all, if you're the only one
>working on his manual, and you get hit by a falling tree, he's out of luck,
>whereas a larger company has backups and safeguards. If you're willing to
>team up with a couple of other people, then you'll have an argument when
>somebody throws out that statement. Just tell him that you're backstopped
>and that even if the kids are sick, you're covered. That removes it from the
>realm of political correctness and plants it firmly into sales and business.
Tim, I'm impressed with your argument. Not at all thrilled, but I am
indeed in awe of it. I was unaware that it was possible in the 90's
to rationalize this situation, and I certainly didn't know there were
people who'd still say things like that in public and risk the
reaction of looking like a complete and utter git. Bravo.
As a manager of several Technical Publications departments (and
frequent hirer of contractors), the issue of kids/household
duties/home life in general never came up at any time during hiring,
for the following reasons:
1. It's illegal.
2. It's unethical.
3. It's actionable.
4. It's inappropriate.
5. It's irrelevant.
6. It's none of my effing business as a manager.
When I hire someone, I hire them to do a job. If they can do it,
great. If they can't, we'll talk. Their home life is not my concern
unless and until it affects their ability to do the job. Never