Question of the Week

Does Your Workplace Have a 'Macho' Culture?

In the March issue of the ABA Journal, we note a complaint (PDF) filed against Dechert by a male associate who says the firm retaliated against him—at first withholding work, and eventually firing him—for taking time under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act after the birth of his second child to care for his children and mentally ill wife. Dechert says the claims are baseless.

The complaint states that “two of the top and most senior associates in Ayanna’s group, both of whom later became partners … regularly bragged about how little time they spent on family obligations.”

Also, last week, Above the Law shared the story of anonymous woman working in BigLaw whose male co-workers torment her for being the breadwinner in her romantic relationship. From the lawyer’s post on Reddit that ATL found:

“He works at the coffee shop most of the lawyers (and others) I work with go to every day. They’ve always teased me about dating a ‘peasant’ (one of them actually uses that word, non-ironically, to describe him), but it seems that since I announced our engagement they’ve decided to go after him directly. So now whenever they’re in the coffee shop they’re messing with him, calling him a loser to his face, assuring him I will come to my senses and leave him, etc.”

So this week we’d like to ask: Does your workplace have a “macho” culture? Can you relate to either of these stories? If so, how have you or your colleagues coped?

We’d also be curious to know what your particular office environment is (large firm? small firm? in-house? etc.) and what city or region you’re in.

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Do You Recall Any Creative Hypotheticals From Law School? Did They Cross the Line?

Featured answer:

Posted by Lawyer Kathy: “I went to law school in the mid-80s. My first-year crim law professor’s final involved someone infecting another with AIDS; the clueless professor forgot (didn’t pay attention) that one of our first year classmates had been diagnosed with AIDS during the first month of law school and died just before finals. He didn’t get to teach first-years again during my tenure at the school, and he apologized to the class.”

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