What to do if I was told that I won’t be returning to my summer camp position I’ve had for 10 years as an Athletic Trainer because I am male?

I was told that I am no longer wanted by a camp to work this summer because I am a male and the surveys they did with “campers” wanted females because they will be more attentive to their needs. I have worked at this camp for 10 years and never had one complaint. I also believe he is lying and there was never a survey. Not sure if I have a case of sexual discrimination and what my options are. This was a $2,000 summer job. There was no contract but an understanding that I would be back this summer and I do have an email from him stating that I am not back because I am a male.

Asked on July 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you may well have a claim for illegal gender- or sex-based discrimination: with a very few exceptions, employers may NOT choose to not hire or retain someone because they are male. The exceptions--when discrimination is permitted--require very specialized circumstances. For example: say that the camp had converted to an all-female camp and your position had been one where you lived in bunks with the campers [sleepaway camp]--you could not do that if you were a different gender, so this would permissible gender-based "discrimination."

Assuming nothing like the above happened, this would, as noted, seem to be illegal gender-based discrimination: camper preference for females, even if true, would not legally justify discrimination. However, it is debatable whether it is worthwhile taking legal action over a $2,000 summer job.


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