Rumors can be discriminatory

Coworkers talking.
Photo credit master1305/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When rumors swirled that a woman had slept her way to the top, she took matters into her own hands. 

A woman at a Virginia consulting firm received six promotions in two years. Male colleagues began circulating rumors that she'd slept with the boss, and she said they treated her with open contempt.

She filed a complaint with the company's HR department and was ultimately fired, while none of her male coworkers were disciplined. 

So, she sued for gender discrimination but lost the case. The Lower Court found that she suffered because of a false rumor, which may be mean and hurtful, but isn't gender discriminatory, just as a false rumor that you kick puppies is mean and presumably untrue but not sex discrimination.  

But she appealed and the Court of Appeals sided with her, stating that traditional negative stereotypes about how women get ahead is different from what people think when men are promoted. So, rumors about women sleeping their way to the top can be considered sex discrimination. 

If you think your boss doesn't deserve her position, focus on her work performance, not her sexual performance.