Make us your home page
Career Q&A | By Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

Consider carefully before filing discrimination case

Q: I am trying to decide whether I should file a discrimination charge against my employer. For the past year, I have had a temporary job as a counselor with an employee assistance program. When a permanent position became available, my supervisor encouraged me to apply, praising my counseling skills and positive client evaluations.

Although several qualified people, including myself, applied for the job, management hired a gentleman whose professional license has been "indefinitely suspended," according to government records. I believe he was selected because he has the same ethnic background as my boss' boss, who has a reputation for hiring people of her own race.

I am truly not a prejudiced person, but I am appalled that an unqualified therapist will be delivering counseling services. My friends say I should take legal action, but I'm not sure.

A: While your friends are undoubtedly well-meaning, encouraging someone else to file a discrimination charge is much easier than doing so yourself. This is a big decision, so you are wise to consider it carefully.

First, let's take a moment to appreciate that we live in a country where many forms of bias are prohibited and where a process exists for pursuing your legal rights. Our laws against employment discrimination have unquestionably created a fairer and more just workplace.

At the same time, however, taking legal action against your employer is not without risk. By definition, you will become an adversary to management, since the company will have to defend itself against your charges. Although retaliation is prohibited, you could still find yourself in a vulnerable position.

If you choose to proceed, you should do so with your eyes wide open. Talking with a specialist at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can help you learn about the charge process and assess the strength of your case. That might help you decide whether filing a claim would be to your benefit.

Finally, keep in mind that there are actually two separate issues here. Regardless of whether discrimination occurred, employing an unqualified therapist is a serious matter which should certainly be investigated.

Change approach to land HR interview

Q: I would like to know why the human resources profession discriminates against men. Based on my observations, most HR departments are 90 percent female. Despite having a master's degree and eight years of experience, I can't seem to get an interview for an HR management position. Why can't men get ahead in this field?

A: One obvious cause of the gender imbalance is simply that more women choose human resources as a career. Last year, for example, women made up 66 percent of the graduates of academic HR programs. Then again, this number also indicates that men still continue to enter the profession. And although some CEOs might prefer female HR executives, men actually do hold many of the top positions.

While your frustration is certainly understandable, fretting about possible discrimination will not help you land a management position. Because rejection is hard to take, job seekers frequently attribute their lack of success to external causes. Unfortunately, however, this rationalization can prevent them from correcting flaws in their approach.

In your case, since you are not getting interviews, odds are that you need to create a more attention-getting resume. Should your assumptions about gender preference happen to be correct, you must make a special effort to shine in order to stand out from the pack.

Consider carefully before filing discrimination case 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  2. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  3. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  4. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]
  5. Cooking passion spurs owner to pull open AJ's Kitchen Drawer


    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Tampa in May 2016, AJ Albrecht spent four months traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia.

    AJs Kitchen Drawer offers a wide variety of unique kitchenware items, such as handcrafted knives and wooden items, as well as local gourmet products. Photo by Danielle Hauser