"Male junior employees have opportunities to socialize with male senior management to the exclusion of women. Female employees are excluded from these events, and thus excluded from opportunities to develop relationships with senior management that provide opportunities for advancement within Merck due to the company's 'tap-on-the shoulder' promotion policies."
Boys Without a Club
Sex discrimination allegations have begun to morph from strip clubs to boys' clubs. Although less explicit than strip clubs, the boys' clubs can be just as exclusionary.
What is a boys' club? It is an invisible affinity group of men, predominantly white, who effectively control their organizations and connections to which may be critical in terms of compensation and advancement.
One "boys' club" case against a large law firm was just settled. Another one was just filed against a pharmaceutical giant.
One paragraph of the complaint against the pharmaceutical giant summarizes the proverbial boys' club:
But what about men who are not in the boys' club? While men disproportionately benefit from boys' clubs, not all men do. There are many men who are excluded.
Men who don't drink may be excluded. The reality is that many boys' clubs revolve around alcohol.
They also tend to revolve heavily around golf. What if a man is neither a drinker nor a golfer?
Then there are other factors that may affect which men are included in this power fraternity. A form of “like me” bias inclusion may be based on race, religion or other EEO factors, albeit often unconsciously.
Men who are excluded from the fraternity often are loathe to express their concerns. The exclusion feels personal; that’s because it is.
Am I suggesting an affinity group for men who are not in boys' clubs? Of course not.
I am suggesting that boy's clubs do more than hurt women. They hurt many men, too.
But one more reason to open your mind to the possibility that there may be a boys' club in at least part of your organization. You would be surprised how many men would join the women in cheering the day the club's walls come crumbling down.
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