Reading Bloomberg View Thursday morning, it's easy to imagine that like Newsweek, the site had gone retro in tribute to Mad Men with Amity Shlaes' column on sexual harassment sounding a little too much like throwback to the pre-enlightenment world of the AMC show. Of course, many folks on the Internet are angry.
The topic at hand is Ellen Pao, a junior partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, who sued, alleging sexual harassment. Pao says that when she complained to senior partners, she faced retaliation. Shlaes says, in essence, that Pao is preventing other women from getting jobs by making all women look whiny and litigious. Or, in her words:
Human-resources specialists aren't idiots. They see how much Pao, still merely alleging, is costing a firm such as Kleiner Perkins: time, image and distraction from its main work, finding value. Other businesses will work harder to avoid a litigious hire.
Won't they also work harder to avoid hiring a sexual harasser? No, wait, the larger point—the largest point really—is that Shlaes has totally turned common sense on its head.
Women have come a very long way to advance their cause by calling out companies that create hostile workplaces for women. And companies should aim to clean up inhospitable workplaces that might cause women to sue, not avoid hiring women altogether. Or as @amaeryllis, a prolific tweeter and lawyer who has much to say on the column this morning, puts it, "Remember before women started standing up for their rights when they were given equal opportunity and treated with respect? Me neither."