Is it discrimination if my supervisor says that I may have a hard time with something related to my job saying, “Because you’re a man”?

Asked on December 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, that statement may well be discrimination; with a few, obvious exceptions, an employer cannot treat men and women differently due to their gender. As stated, the exceptions are obvious ones: say you are a social worker and are counseling a woman who miscarried--because that is probably a true statement, that a man very likely cannot relate to a miscarriage as a woman (particularly one who's been pregnant) might--that would likely not be discrimination; the statement is grounded in fact, in a real gender-based difference, and not in discrimination against a gender.
However, even if it was a discriminatory statment, unless there is an ongoing pattern of harassment, or unless you suffered some adverse consequence due to your supervisor's belief that a man can't relate to certain things (e.g. demoted, hours changed, transferred, etc.), there's no point in taking action: the law would not provide any compensation for an isolated or infrequent/uncommon comment not associated with some negative job action.


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