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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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I am a Female VP Markeitng & Sales working for a company where

Customer Question

I am a Female VP Markeitng & Sales working for a company where there is only myself and the (male) VP Operations as "equals" in upper management. We are owned by an Italian company and we both report directly to the owner/partner of the company in Italy.

The VP Ops did not have the title or money that he has now until I was hired.
He has about 15+ years less work experience that I (he is age 40, I am 57) and was at a pay scale of $90k when I came on board. I came on board for substantially more money due in large part to not only my successful track record but simply time in.
He was made VP Ops ONLY becasue prior to my coming on board he was the only one running the company and He writes checks etc. so they had to give him a good title.

After I was there for about 6 months I started having alot of challenges working with him (because he was very limited in his world view and lacked big picture management experience) and fought me about everything.

So I suggested to my boss that he should get paid more money... because I knew that he worked hard, had done a decent job overall in taking a small business and developingit without much help but mostly because I thought he would continue to resent me and I would never get anything done. He had to sign my pay check.
By the end of the year we were compensated the exact same money.

Unfortunately, it did not help to change his behavior and if anything it made it worse.
He continues to act as though he is the only one running the company and doesn't need to discuss or consult with me about anything. He BLOCKS all of ways in which I try to get the company to improve (streamlining work flow process, computer software, etc).

I have brought it up in writing numerous times to he and the big boss in Italy who is Italian male and also pretty chauvinistic. after 3 years, I am at my wits end about it.

I am a strong leader with many sound ideas and I have sucessfully doubled the sales of the company after a year. I have already made many positive changes but I can't do it alone and I feel that I am constantly being blocked and in a power struggle.

I dont know who much of this is legal discrimination, but in my heart of hearts, I feel that it is because I am a woman. We already had a female customer service rep leave for this reason, she felt that there was a very negative "boys club" environment going on.
I am sick of it and want to know if there is any way I have any kind of a case to seek resolution and damages if it doesnt change.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome,

I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation.

Have there been comments directed toward you by the employer indicating that you are being treated less favorably because you are a woman?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
no, but the Vp ops only deals with the other guy in the office and he routinely excludes women in nearly all decisions. what I percieve to be gender bias is very subtle. I am his equal and he he doesnt treat me as such. my italian boss also does the same thing. he routinely doesnt include me in decisions that I should be involved in and they both make unilateral decisions that affect my job performance.
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I see.

Gender discrimination is often subtle and not overt. It is more difficult to prove, but not impossible. Such circumstances make it more critical that you retain a local employment law attorney to represent you in the matter to aid in determining the best method for proving that discrimination is involved and guide you in making the strongest case possible, so it can be resolved through mediation or litigation.

Normally, a complaint of discrimination must be filed with the company's HR department, unless filing a complaint would be futile, which is likely to be the case here. If that is the situation, then a charge should be filed with the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory conduct.

The state and local bar associations can provide you with attorney referrals.

Here is a link to the Commission's website:

I hope you found my answer helpful, even if the law is not in your favor. I would be happy to clarify my answer if anything is not clear or you are looking for additional information. All the best to you!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
This waa not an answer at all.
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Hello again, Debbie.

I'm not sure what you are looking for from me. You could file a complaint with the EEOC or Fair Employment and Housing Commission, but since the employer's alleged acts of discrimination are subtle based on your own analysis, I would not expect a successful outcome in resolving the situation in all likelihood, and the situation would likely continue and the employer may even retaliate against you for filing a complaint (which is illegal).

Because of these facts, I would retain a local employment law attorney to aid in proving that discrimination exists at all. If you cannot prove discrimination exists, there is typically no recourse against the employer since the employment at will doctrine permits employers to dictate the terms of emplyment, even if unfair and unreasonable.

So, your only chance of resolving this would normally involve proving that discrimination is involved as prohibited by state and federal law.