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Does Title VII require work-life balance? II

A week ago, I scoffed at a claim in a lawsuit against Bayer that it violated Title VII by failing to provide work-life balance that was attractive to women seeking promotion. Now, an academic writing in the New York Times adopts precisely that argument: Wal-Mart's real discriminatory policy is that it asks its managers to work really hard (sometimes 80 to 90 hours a week!), and more men than women are willing to do that.

I don't know why more women aren't insulted by the risible claim that asking for hard work is the equivalent of sex discrimination, but we've now seen two instances of this argument in two weeks, and if one more happens, I can officially declare a trend—which would be a very dangerous trend if we start seeing courts abandoning the long-held position that the anti-discrimination laws do not make courts into a civil service board and instead interfering in the efficiency of workplaces.

The hard work that Wal-Mart requires of its managers benefits Wal-Mart's customers, many of whom are women. Why should they suffer so Professor Lichtenstein can feel good about social engineering?

See also Boudreaux and Sailer.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.