Woman Fired For Getting Married?

Illustration for article titled Woman Fired For Getting Married?

Or, rather, because her boss couldn't afford to keep her on. But, as said boss rationalized it, "Now that you have a husband, he can take care of you."

Advertisement

This horrifying — and possibly legally problematic — tale comes courtesy of the ManlyMoney blog, and the subject is a friend of the author's — a scientist named "Susan" who was great at her job and had been there for 10 years. As he tells it, the boss had been after Susan for years to marry to ensure her financial security.

Now, this is a case of he-said, she-said, she-said — quite literally — so we can't know the boss's side of the story or how much has been dramatized. But there's no doubt this is an attitude a lot of people share, particularly in regards to women. On the one hand, it'd be natural for a boss to take comfort in the fact that a fired employee won't be destitute. But to wait ten years and then, suspiciously, fire someone because ostensibly she's got a provider, is problematic indeed. The truth is, legally speaking, a spouse's status shouldn't have a bearing on one's employment — and even if the firing's well-intentioned, it becomes discriminatory. If you're fired because your marital status changes, whatever the rationale, that's discrimination. It's also paternalistic, assuming a lot about the dynamics of a couple's relationship and, incidentally, about the stability of the husband's job. It's also imposing one's own values on another person, and an employee at that.

Advertisement

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman who used to work in publishing in the 1960s, who described it as "a job you took only until you got your "MRS" — so there was no incentive to pay a living wage." She explained that, she finally got a raise when it became clear she wasn't going to marry. "It was a combination of not wanting to invest and assuming I wouldn't need it." It's jarring to be reminded that in some quarters, attitudes haven't changed all that much.

She Was Fired Because She Got Married [Manly Money]
[Image via Shutterstock]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

So...read the original post, which is not quite as the above led me to believe. Or maybe I'm a bad feminist who needs to get her "kneejerk" checked. The boss obviously lacks professional/legal intelligence, her managment style led this employee to believe they were 'friends' and has apparently been living in some sort of deep freeze for the last 40 years.

That said, it sounds like the poor-financial-outlook writing was on the wall for some time and the idiot boss maybe held out to so she could feel better about letting someone go that she hadn't really been able to afford for a while.

And when she did finally deliver the news (allegedly)? Oy, eyeroll. As she told Susan, she "didn’t have the money to pay her anymore. Now that you have a husband, he can take care of you". Lady, please stop trying to make the situation "better". You run a business, sometimes you have to let people go. There is no good way to deliver this news, but there are worse ways than others. If you really feel that bad, you pay a nice severance and/or offer to serve as a reference, make some introductions or write a letter of recommendation and leave it at that.

As for Susan, I have a feeling this may be the best thing to ever happen to her career. Good riddance to a poorly-managed company (winery?). I'm glad she finally came to the "cold hard realization that her boss was not her friend".