Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'Using Your SEX to Sell and the Boulevard to Bombshell Bitchiness'

If you ask me, this sounds like a fun place to work and there sure doesn't seem to be one of those annoying employee conduct manuals. Of course some delicate types might be offended, which is why we're now reading about it. Just a hunch, but I suspect there are some sensitivity training classes in the not-too-distant future.
The bosses at a Wall Street business publishing firm in Lower Manhattan make the crew on "Mad Men" seem sensitive -- throwing around words like "p---y" and "c---" to inspire employees and urging female workers to practice "bombshell bitchiness" and use their "sex to sell," a sensational discrimination suit charges.

"It's an extreme sort of jock fraternity ethos that's really unfathomable in this day and age," lawyer Jack Tuckner said of his client Lobna Abdelrehim's experiences at GDS International.

"The bosses are all aware of it, and they could care less. It's like a throwback into the 1950s."

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Abdelrehim said she went to work for GDS back in 2007, and quickly got a crash course in crass. Her suit says she and other saleswomen were given "overtly sexist and demeaning sales propaganda, exhorting [them] to use their feminine wiles as a sale closing technique."

One was entitled "Using your SEX to Sell and the Boulevard to Bombshell Bitchiness," which included tips such as "flirt to get what [you] want" and how they "can get away with being aggressive because its sexy," the suit says.

Salespeople were also often given "pep talk chants" by their managers, such as, "Stop being a f---ing p----y" and, "Close the deal you c---" on the open sales floor, the suit says.

Meeting sales targets, meanwhile, was celebrated in staff-wide e-mails with the employee being congratulated for having "popped her cherry," the suit says. Bosses at the international company also weren't very respectful towards women in other mass e-mails, including one, entitled, "There's Grass on the Wicket -- It's Time to Play Cricket" and another that referenced "MILFs."

There was also a recent e-mail about "a charity chest waxing," where female employees could wax their "very hairy managers."

Abdelrehim, 26, also recounted an incident at the company's Christmas party last year, where they had a contest for "Best Dressed Man" and the female employee "Most Allergic to Conservative Clothing." The Muslim woman was named a finalist, the suit says, which attendees considered "a riot."
For someone so terribly offended by this trip back to the 1950s, it seems kind of strange that she's still working there. I suspect she many not feel all that welcome, but will probably settle for a nice payday to go away.
Abdelrehim was still employed at the firm as of Tuesday, but Tuckner said her career prospects at GDS are bleak.

"They have told her she's pretty much doomed," he said.

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