Male employee swaps email signature with female colleague, with 'shocking' results...

Male employee swaps email signature with female colleague, with 'shocking' results...

The prevalence of gender bias is an uncomfortable truth for many HR departments - and whilst strides are being made to minimise levels of discrimination, unfortunately instances, such as the following, only serve to highlight how far we have to go.

A male employee at a firm in Philadelphia, US, accidentally swapped email signatures with a female colleague. According to the Daily Mail, Martin Schneider was confused by the "rude and dismissive" responses he received from clients, only to realise that it was down to them believing he was co-worker Nicole Pieri.  

The pair then decided to conduct an experiment, whereby they swapped email signatures for two weeks. Whilst Pieri claimed she enjoyed the most successful stint of her career, Schneider said that his work life began to "f****** suck".

He claims that clients began to be rude to him, writing on Twitter that one such client said that "his methods were the industry standard (they weren't) and I couldn't understand the terms he used (I could)".

After he pointed out to the client that he wasn't Pieri, the client's reaction immediately changed. 

Schneider wrote online about this experience:  "IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT: Positive reaction, thanking me for suggestions, responds promptly saying 'great questions'. Became a model client. Note: my technique and advice never changed. The only difference was that I had a man's name now.

"Everything I asked or suggested was questioned. Clients I could do in my sleep were condescending. One asked if I was single. Nicole had the most productive week of her career. I realised the reason she took longer is because she had to convince clients to respect her.

"By the time she could get clients to accept that she knew what she was doing, I could get halfway through another client. I wasn't any better at the job than she was, I just had this invisible advantage.

"For me, this was shocking. For her, she was USED to it. She just figured it was part of her job. I mean, she knew she was being treated different for being a woman, she's not dumb. She just took it in her stride [sic]."

What do you think? Is this an instance of blatant sexism? Or are there other factors at play? Tell us in the comments…

Comments (2)

  • Davser
    Mon, 27 Mar 2017 2:04pm BST
    A recent study found that HR professionals exhibited the most bias towards men and overweight women.

  • Tamara
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:41am GMT
    It would be interesting to know if the condescension to the 'female' sender came from both male and female clients alike.

    As Schneider observed, his female co worker was used to it.

    The question is: does subconscious bias go deeper, can women themselves be 'guilty' of that same bias?

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