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Sex discrimination lawsuit hits Facebook

Claiming that her boss belittled her and made sexist and racist comments throughout her three years at Facebook, a former employee is suing the company for sex and race discrimination. Most states, including Michigan, have civil rights laws in place that ban workplace harassment or discrimination based on gender, race, religion, age and other factors. The challenge for a plaintiff is to prove that such bias was indeed the basis for workplace harassment or dismissal.

In the Facebook case, the plaintiff argues that her boss asked her why she wasn't staying home and taking care of her children and criticized her for taking time off once a month to volunteer at her child's school, even though this was permitted as part of company policy. She also contends that her boss referred to her as an "order taker" and downplayed her contributions in meetings. In addition, she says she was required to organize parties and serve drinks to male employees, tasks that were not required of men.

The woman had received a promotion and outstanding performance reviews throughout her tenure, but when she complained about her boss' behavior, she received a negative evaluation and then was fired. A Facebook spokesperson disputed the allegations, saying that the company has a strong commitment to diversity and gender and race equality and that in this case the facts show that the employee was treated fairly.

Making an effective case for gender discrimination in the workplace requires that a person assemble sufficient evidence to prove a pattern of harassment or bias. An attorney can assist a plaintiff in gathering information for such a case and for identifying evidence best suited to proving the claim. Further, an attorney can help the plaintiff determine an appropriate claim amount, assessing the value of lost wages and benefits as well as the cost of emotional distress.

Source: CNN Money, "Facebook gets sued for gender discrimination," March 19, 2015

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