When Outright Discrimination Gets Mistaken as a Quest for Work Life Balance: Or How the Judge Got it Wrong!

by Chrysula on August 25, 2011 in asking,mothering,reforming,work life balance

I’ve been quietly steaming over last week’s decision by Judge Preska to dismiss the Bloomberg women’s class action, anchoring her decision it seems, on former GE CEO Jack Welch’s view that, “There is no such thing as work life balance. There are choices, and you make them, and they have consequences”.

On one level, absolutely true. Welch is right. And yet horribly wrong at the same time.

Others have put more eloquently than I can quite frankly muster right now. So if you want to know more, have a look at these:

From MomsRising.org – Bloomberg Case: Open Season to Discriminate Against Mothers?

From the Women’s Media Center – Justice According to Jack Welch

From the Wall St Journal’s “The Juggle” blog – Judge Dismisses Discrimination Suit Against Bloomberg

From SheNegotiates.com at Forbes: Judge to Bloomberg Women: You Want Work-Life Balance? Don’t Ask Me for It

Whilst I don’t agree with every single argument made above, there is some compelling reading and all I am left with is this giant sense of jaw-dropping disbelief. Where did the Judge get the idea that this was EVER about work life balance? EVER?! It was about constant insult, taunting and overtly discriminatory treatment.

I’ve read various counter view points, a couple are here:

Bloomberg Judge Hostile to Work/Life Balance? – The Careerist

‘There’s no such thing as work-life balance’ – The Hill’s Pundits Blog

But I still do not understand how Judge Preska turned horrific insults and repeated degradation of a decent proportion of mothers at Bloomberg into some trite throw away line that has little to do with changing work place culture. Where do you sit on this one?

When you were seeking maternity leave or back at work with a new little one, was there a difference in how you were treated? Like the writers of the Wall Street Journal’s “The Juggle” blog above, I found it boosted my career and actually enhanced my promotability (with the exception of fighting the battle to pump in a clean and private place – that’s for another post). I like to think my performance actually improved with having children because I brought a whole new set of skills and mindset to the job. Perhaps even because of the sleepless nights instead of in spite of them. You?

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{ 1 comment }

kaylie September 13, 2011 at 5:08 am

I’m new here. I love what you do.
I think there’s a lot of discrimination, which is unfair, but I also think that a lack of work/life balance (by which I mean workplace inflexibility) and discrimination come from the same source, which is the unwillingness of employers to admit that women (especially mothers) work, and that their needs might be different than those of single employees. Theoretically, though, discrimination is illegal…

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