A team of waitresses planned to not show up to work after they were passed up for promotion despite having more experience than a new hire.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 6, 2022. It has since been updated.
In addition to the gender gap in hiring, recent studies highlight a similarly pervasive gap across industries when it comes to promoting employees. A study conducted by Professor Kelly Shue at the Yale School of Management showed that while women receive higher performance ratings—they are 7.3% more likely than men to receive a “high” rating in performance—their potential ratings are 5.8% lower. According to estimates, these lower potential ratings can explain up to 50% of the gap in promotions. One Reddit user experienced this statistic in real life when her boss promoted the son of a friend to a manager position, even though she and her colleagues were far more qualified. Taking to the Reddit forum "Anti Work," she explained her predicament.
In a study of U.S. medical school graduates, 1979–2013, women were less likely than men to be promoted from assistant to associate professor and from associate to full and less likely to be appointed department chair. The sex differences have not diminished over time.— NEJM (@NEJM) November 27, 2020
"I work in a restaurant where the entire staff is women," she shared. "The owner is a man, and the general manager is a man, but the staff is all women. When we needed an assistant manager, instead of hiring one of us, he brought in his friend (a man) who had no restaurant experience. He did not even work as a waiter, he went straight to being assistant manager." Unfortunately, the new hire vacated the position. Instead of simply accepting the status quo, the staff tried to urge their employer to hire from within the team.
The Reddit user continued, "We asked both the boss and manager to promote from within and give the job to any one of us (we have the experience, are ready for the position, some of us have been working here for years, we know everything there is to know). They said they would think about it, [but] days after they hired another man: the son of a friend who had no restaurant experience at all. After five weeks at work, they have promoted him to manager (our general manager is going to open a new branch). [They are] also not promoting any of us to assistant manager because we have 'proven [we] can work well without an assistant manager.'"
Reasonably, the team was upset with the decision. However, their boss and manager attempted to convince them it was not sexism. "But you see, it is not sexism," she sarcastically commented. "It is just that even though most of us have been working there for years, this guy with no experience after five weeks was more ready than any of us to be our manager. Straight from waiter to manager in five weeks. But do not say it is sexism, come on! It is just that he was 'the most qualified person for the job.' Sure..." In order to teach the boss a lesson, the Reddit user and her co-workers have simply decided not to show up for work.
She concluded, "Next week will be busy because of some local events taking place in town. We have not said a word but all 12 of us have decided not to show up for work. I am already doing interviews in other places." Fellow Reddit users appreciated their show of solidarity. One person commented, "Good luck. Glad you have solidarity with your coworkers, but sorry this is happening to you." Another added, "Sounds like you've got a great team for organizing!"