Institutional Discrimination: Women in a Locker-Room Culture
News Item: Morgan Stanley, a bank holding company, to pay $46 million in a case charging systemic sex discrimination
Responses: “I’m so happy that there’s a settlement hat’s good for everybody; said lead plaintiff Allison Schrieffer, a former bend darer who was awarded a settlement of $12 million. (telnet Shell, 2007) “It sends a message to employers everywhere that allegations of discrimination need to be taken seriously; said Elizabeth Gross man, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyer. (qt, in Shell, 2007)
For decades, sociologists have called attention to the fact that both Individual discrimination and institutional discrimination-based on sex, ethnographically, and other devalued characteristics and attributes of subordinate-group members-are widespread Benokraitis and Feagin. 1995). 00 Previous sex-discrimination lawsuits typically involved details about the crude behavior of male employees toward women. or pornography in the workplace, or male bosses’ demands that women employees accompany them to strip clubs and other objectionable locations as part of their work-related duties (Anderson, 2007). However, the Morgan stanley case involved none of these issues and instead focused on women’s opportunities for training, gaining new clients, promotion, and pay equity-all factors elated to institutional discrimination. previously defined (in Chapter 9) as the day-to-day- practices of organizations and institutions that have a harmful impact on members f subordinate groups
In the case of Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street investment bank, female employees were passed over for new clients, paid less than ale employees. and often passed over for promotion. Although Morgan Stanley denied all charges, the firm agreed to pay at least 46 million to settle this class-action suit filed by eight current and former female brokers. A primary issue in the case involved the way In which accounts were distributed in the firm’s retail retail retail ranches. According to the lawsuit, a “locker-room culture” prevailed in which accounts were often given to golf buddies based (.,1 a “power ranking” system that dictated how the accounts of retiring and departing brokers were to be distributed and how new accounts were to be assigned. A new system put in 1 lace after the lawsuit will automate the distribution of accounts, brokers will receive written Information about the distribution f accounts, and data will be more readily available to individuals who believe they are being discriminated against (Anderson, 007). Sociological theorizing and research have Increased public awareness that the day-to-day practices of organizations and institutions may have a negative and differential effect on individuals who have historically been excluded from workplace 1 settings such as prestigious Wall Street firms, which traditionally have been dominated by white males. Although many gains be been made through legislation and litigation to reduce institutional discrimination, recent cases such as the Morgan Stanley ex-bias lawsuit demonstrate that much remains to be 1 done before women truly have equal opportunities in the workplace.
Reflect & Analyze
Why is it important for all employees to feel that they are being treated fairly at work? Are some employment settings more esistant to change than others? What do you think? and a division of labor based on male dominance arenearly universal, as we will see in the following discussion on the origins of gender-based stratification.
and demand for labor, and (3) the extent to which women’s child-rearing activities are compatible with certain types of work, As efined in Chapter 5, subsistence refers