Trump’s Sex (Discrimination) Scandals part two: “Sexy” More Important Than Merit in California

In addition to the race discrimination case Trump settled with the DOJ in the 1070’s and the Chicago sex harassment and retaliation case Trump settled in 2010, Trump has faced at least two dozen cases for age, sex or race discrimination in employment — some of them being class cases. This is out of the thousands of cases that Trump has become embroiled in over the past decades.  There is so much out there on Trump’s sex discrimination scandals, we can only begin to scratch the surface.

Today, we’ll look at a class action from the mid-2000’s that Trump settled in 2013 that the LA Times recently profiled in great detail.  More on others in the future.

Trump only wants to employ women he deems attractive

According to sworn testimony, Trump instructed his management team that only women who were pretty and thin should be employed at the Trump National Golf Club.  Note that this testimony comes not only from women, but also from men who worked for Trump.  For example, a male restaurant manager instructed to meet with female applicants before they were hired to ensure they were “sufficiently pretty” and to be sure that women working when Trump visited had to be young and attractive.  The manager also gave sworn testimony that Trump ogled women when visiting, commented on their attractiveness in front of employees and customers, and questioned them about their dating preferences.

This was echoed by another Trump manager who was told to staff “good looking”women, particularly when Trump was in town; and yet another Trump manager who was told to either fire overweight women or not give them shifts or otherwise hide them when Trump was in town.

In researching the story, the LA Times not only combed through the attached legal files but also spoke with servers who shared similar experiences — including

  • a woman who, at 45, was deemed not pretty enough and given fewer and fewer shifts because Trump wanted “fresher faces;”
  • a woman denied a job as a server because of her acne;
  • a woman who was subjected to repeated (illegal) inquiries about her marital status; and
  • like the young mother in Chicago fired for reporting discrimination, a woman who was fired for reporting age/sex discrimination at the CA golf course.

Gross Disregard for Merit
In addition to the lack of professionalism and preference for punitive measures that this case, like yesterday’s, illustrates, the litigation here also suggests that Trump and the people working for him suffer from an inability or unwillingness to assess the potential or actual contributions of women.  Instead, when assessing their value to his organization — their hireability, promoteability, or employability — Trump instituted a metric that ignored merit altogether.  This is not only illegal, but also indicative of terrible judgment.

In numerous cases I have litigated, I’ve seen women who were objectively super-stars in their organizations be undervalued and under-utilized because their accomplishments were not as important to their employers as their gender.  Whether they were setting national or international records for their sales results, managing teams of employees out of crisis, successfully launching products under budget and ahead of schedule, or winning landmark victories in technical and complex areas of the law, a disregard for their merit meant that my clients were paid less, passed over for promotions, and sometimes even managed out of companies.

BUT, a disregard for merit also means that the employer isn’t able to take advantage of the resources at their disposal.  It means they are hiring the less qualified guy, promoting the less qualified guy, and retaining the less qualified guy.  Now imagine this same disregard for merit and contribution is exhibited by our President and those who work for him.  If there is any office where I want the utmost rigor shown in selection and evaluation procedures, it’s the Oval One.


Katherine Kimpel

Kate Kimpel is the Senior Editor of Shattering the Ceiling and is also an accomplished civil rights lawyer. She represents women and people of color in discrimination cases (and other kinds of employment and civil rights matters).  When not lawyering, she likely is bragging about her hound dog Ulysses, inventing cocktails to serve at her next dinner party, or convincing her husband to watch reruns of a Joss Whedon television show (any of them will do). 

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