We all know there’s a disparity in the treatment of men and women in the workplace. But are eager, spirited female employees at the greatest risk for discrimination? Claire Hammond thinks so. Her position at Dell Inc. was terminated on the grounds of unprofessional behavior, but Hammond claims she was simply adding “creativity and innovation” to the workplace. “I just wanted to make work more :) and less ~_~ zZz for everybody,” she texted.
During her first few months at Dell, Hammond had multiple demerits for daily events, or “stress busters”, she threw for fellow employees. “Bring your dog to work day was a big hit,” Vice President Alex Johnson says, “until Claire decided all the dogs needed makeovers. She got them groomed and photographed using a company credit card. It was incredibly expensive and people were worried she wouldn’t bring their dogs back.”
Multiple employees filed sexual harassment complaints after Hammond’s first “massage and martini Monday.” Coworker Rebecca Moses notes, “Claire has a very liberal definition of ‘massage.’ She was just going up to people and grabbing them without warning. It was startling and disruptive to productivity.”
“They just couldn’t handle a woman making things more fun,” Hammond says.
Women at other corporations are claiming they were discriminated against for their fun ideas as well. Diane Rogers was fired from her human resources position at the Hearst Corporation after introducing morning meditation to her office. ”We weren’t allowed to talk or turn on lights from 9 a.m. until noon,” says a former coworker. “It started as a Friday activity, but then became an everyday event. By the end we were pretty sure Diane was just hungover and wanted it dark and quiet.” Diane was fired when an executive was made aware of the meditation and other practices such as jello shot luncheons. Rogers claims her methods brought focus and camaraderie to the office, which she says threatened male coworkers.
Dale Cobbs, an employee who submitted complaints about Rogers, reported that she spent four days listening to Whitney Houston and weeping at her desk. “This happened at least seven months after Whitney passed away.” When the company let Rogers go, she concluded that, “Hearst just wants to keep the workplace soulless.”
Rogers is currently seeking a lawyer to help file a claim of gender- and cheer-based discrimination.
Claire Hammond insists that women like Rogers and herself should not give up. “In the past,” Hammond texted, “labor unions fought for living-wages and health benefits, but since we’ve attained all that, now is the time to advocate for wayyy [sic] better working conditions. Workers feel (-_-) when they can’t let loose. My time at Dell has shown that a Cinco de Mayo piñata and tequila shots can lead to a really great work experience.”
Despite her outrage, Hammond mourns the loss of this career opportunity. “I thought working at Dell would be a big break for me,” she said in a multipart text, “but apparently they’re stuck in the old male cultural norms. What kind of people complain that they can’t understand the emojis in your PowerPoint presentations? SMH.”