Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton

Prejudice against female managers less among younger workers

Biases against women in leadership positions in the workplace might be easing among the younger generation. Research by an economics professor about employees' reactions to feedback and criticism from male and female bosses showed less prejudice among workers in their 20s. The results might indicate a generational shift away from discriminating against women managers in California.

The study conducted by the professor evaluated workers' perceptions of feedback based on whether it came from a man or woman. To measure responses to criticism, the study randomly gave male or female manager names to performance feedback transcripts and assigned them to random workers. Both men and women tended to have negative feelings toward feedback from women compared to men. Criticism coming from female managers corresponded with reduced job satisfaction among employees.

The reasons behind the discriminatory attitudes proved elusive. The workers within the study spent more time processing the feedback from women managers than feedback from men. Even workers who reported positive experiences with female leaders tended to dislike criticism from women more than men.

Overall, discrimination has proven difficult for researchers to study. They face barriers to observing real-life workplace interactions that might influence promotions for women compared to men. Statistics, however, indicate that discrimination might limit career opportunities for women. Women only hold 26% of senior level positions at Fortune 500 companies.

A person who believes that workplace discrimination has prevented career advancement or even resulted in wrongful termination could speak with an attorney. A legal evaluation of the specific facts about an employer's policies and actions might reveal violations of employment law. An attorney may initiate a formal complaint and open discussions for a settlement. If a case advances to the court room, then an attorney may be able to explain the illegal actions that damaged the victim financially to a jury.

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