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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]

Big 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.

The case 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.

Equality 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

copyright 2004 Pacific Research Institute




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