Confronting sexism

Confronting sexism

Aug 01, 2005

Q. The owner of my practice makes rude remarks about women's work abilities. Should I confront the doctor about his sexist comments?

Dr. Charlotte Lacroix
You must decide what steps you're comfortable taking, says Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, an attorney and owner of Veterinary Business Advisors Inc. in Whitehouse Station, N.J. For example, you may confront the doctor, take your concerns to a manager, file a lawsuit, or change jobs to escape the situation.

Keep in mind, most states require employers to develop a sexual harassment policy. So Dr. Lacroix recommends checking your employee handbook. The policy should outline the steps you'd take to make a complaint.

If you decide to confront your supervisor, write your complaint. "In your letter, say how long you've worked at the practice and give the specific comments your employer made," she says.

Dr. Lacroix also recommends logging any comments your employer makes in a binder. You'll record the date and what the doctor said soon after the comment was made to provide a record of events.

If you confront your employer and the comments continue, you'll need to decide whether you want to pursue a lawsuit or leave the practice. "Chances are, your employer isn't going to change at heart, even if he changes his behavior," Dr. Lacroix says.