Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why you never ask a woman if she’s pregnant

Australian broadcaster Todd Woodbridge thought that tennis star Kim Clijsters was pregnant. His problem, however, was that he did not keep it to himself. Instead, he texted his thoughts to another player. When Clijsters found out, she took the story public, outing Woodbridge’s lack of sensitivity during a post-match television interview.

It remains to be seen if Woodbridge keeps his Aussie TV gig. That Clijsters was so good natured about the crass message may help his cause. Don’t assume, however, that your female employees will be so forgiving.

I don’t know what will happen to Woodbridge’s job, but I can almost guarantee you will lose your discrimination case if a rejected job applicant has a text message asking if she appeared irritable and if her boobs looked bigger. Text messages, social media, and other technology make it much easier to share these types of thoughts. Because of these technologies, he said/she said cases no longer necessarily hinge on credibility debates. Instead, the employee may be holding that text or tweet as a dangerous trump card.

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