Let us say that you were recently hired as the assistant to the strength coach in the athletics department of a small college in New England. You are the first woman to hold that position.
You get along well with the coach, who hired you, but conflict between you and the athletic director developed quickly, and this makes you uncomfortable. Is gender discrimination involved?
You cannot go through your working life without experiencing conflict in some form. There are always going to be personality differences, and certainly differences of opinion. However, if bullying or harassment resulted from such conflicts, it could be discrimination. In your case, the AD may believe that women have no place in men’s sports, even if the woman in question earned a degree in the kind of work she has been hired to do. He chooses times when no one else is present to criticize you, question your work ethic and make flippant comments about women in general as related to men’s sports, but which are obviously directed toward you.
What to do
You are strongly considering lodging a complaint with the human resources department about how the AD treats you, but first, it would be a good idea to seek legal guidance. Begin keeping a journal about any interaction you have with the AD. Write information down in a notebook, and retain any written notes or documents you receive from the athletic director. Do not put anything about this subject into the computer. In the same vein, only use your personal cellphone to call your attorney; do not use any college-issued devices to do so.
Protecting your rights
Various laws protect your rights, and your advocate will provide advice as to the best time to file a complaint with the college. You no doubt had high hopes for your new position, and a better working environment may begin with a complaint of gender discrimination against the athletic director.