This week saw the announcement of Lady Doritos. If you missed it, PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi did a podcast interview in which she explained that women do not like to “crunch too loudly in public,” and so the company was creating a quiet Dorito.
We also heard from the President of this country that in his view women speaking out, the #metoo movement, and “mere allegations” of domestic violence are ruining men’s lives and their families.
What do these two things have in common?
Both of them are reminding women to stay quiet and small. Both of them are reminding women that their voices, just the sounds they make, could be dangerous and they don’t want to make sounds.
Both are reminding us that we don’t want to make noise – female noise is dangerous.
Why This Makes No Sense
In most states of the United States (not all), employment is “at will.” That means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason, unless it is specifically prohibited by the law. For example, I once represented an employee who was clearly fired because he made a workers’ compensation claim (the law specifically prohibited that). But, the employer argued that he fired the employee because he didn’t like the employee’s t-shirt (that would have been legal). It is usually legal to fire an employee because you don’t like his t-shirt. And sometimes employers point to that reason, even though it's silly.
Sometimes, employers keep employees around, even after someone tells them the employee is a potential danger. For example, there are instances where someone tells an employer that an employee is drinking on the job before driving. In that case, it is a “mere allegation,” but the employer has to consider the safety of customers and other employees. If the employer keeps the dangerous employee, the employer is taking a risk and maybe putting people in danger.
When women report that an employee is dangerous, it keeps other people safe.
When an employer fires an employee because the employer learns the employee may be dangerous, the employer errs on the side of safety.
Not every report of harassment is true. Not every report of drinking on the job is true. Not every report of theft is true. There is no type of report that is true 100% of the time.
But, statistics show that reports of every type of crime are true or false at the same rate. That means that there are the same number of false reports of theft as false reports of sexual assault. Women are truth-tellers or liars at the same rate as men.
The first and most important step in keeping our communities safe from harassment and assault is to talk about our experiences. Employers have been firing men, not because of women talking, but because the employers know the men may be dangerous.
Even when Doritos and the President are trying to remind you to be quiet, I encourage you to talk. Talk thoughtfully and deliberately, but talk.
Men are not getting fired because women are talking. Men are getting fired because they are showing dangerous behavior.
I work with women all the time to be conscious and deliberate about how we talk about harassment and assault. If you would like more information about how to do that, I would love to give you a free copy of my book. Reserve your copy at http://www.freedomresourcecenter.com/career-defense-101