Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific
Research Institute [go
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Discrimination at the Small Business Administration
Political correctness running amok...
[Sally C. Pipes] 3/10/04
Despite the progress that's been made in recent years, gender
discrimination still persists. But these days, its target is
often counterintuitive, as a recent federal court ruling demonstrates.
concerns Jo Alice Mospan, who worked at a Small Business Administration
office (SBA) in California but was on track to
become a District Director in Helena, Montana. And she had a
vision for the Helena office. As she told a colleague, that office "was
full of white males and that she was going to do something about
that." Her plan was to replace them with female workers,
even though many of the men in question were longstanding SBA
employees with excellent evaluations.
To that end,
Ms. Mospan made the move to the Helena office and soon compiled
a "hit list" of
top male employees that she aimed to have fired. One of those
on the hit list was Jerry
Christison, with the SBA for 25 years, who had always received
job evaluations in the range of excellent to superior.
Mospan badgered her colleague Nora Walsh to get the while males
fired, even calling her at home and telling her to get on with
the task. But Walsh respected her male colleagues and wanted
no part of the campaign. She requested a transfer.
It was then that Mospan began to retaliate against Nora Walsh
and other colleagues who were reticent to pursue Mospan's discriminatory
agenda. Mospan harassed her female colleagues, even attempting
to sabotage colleague Mary Conway-Jepsen's projects with local
business. The retribution grew so intrusive that Conway-Jepsen
was forced to retire in 1997. Since the SBA provided no recourse,
she took the matter to court.
On February 17, U.S. Judge Charles Lovell ruled that Jo Alice
Mospan had ruined the career of Mary Conway-Jepsen, and continued
to retaliate against her even after she resigned. Judge Lovell
ordered the SBA to reinstate Conway-Jepsen and give her $433,000
in back pay, along with $50,000 for emotional pain and suffering.
But while that is some measure of justice, it doesn't address
the underlying problem.
What drove this case was the notion that some human beings are
targets for hostile, destructive action not because of anything
they have done but simply because of their gender. While this
is morally wrong, in this case it was a politically correct bias,
the sort that thrives on campus and in government agencies.
This case supports the claim of some white males that they are
the last group that can be defamed with impunity. If black or
Asian females had been targeted for removal, with the aim of
replacing them with men, the SBA would have sent troops to the
Helena office, and the case would have received national exposure.
In contrast, this case has received little attention. This is
partly because many feminist leaders do in fact champion a reverse
gender bias. They often justify it by saying that the proportions
of men and women in the workplace must reflect their representation
among the general population. Of course, this flies in the face
of principles like merit and individual achievement.
is not some numerical formula or proportional fantasy. Equality
means equal treatment under the law. That means nobody
can be targeted for hostile action based on race and gender,
not even white males. CRO
2004 Pacific Research Institute