Alden M. Hayashi presents a complex workplace scenario in his article, “Mommy-Track Backlash.” In this scenario, Vice President of Sales and Customer Support Jessica Gonon is presented with a difficult scheduling and human resources challenge. Having previously hired an account manager with the conditions that the account manager (and not others) gets to work a flexible schedule, forego evening and weekend hours, and have every Friday off with the reason being she wants to spend time with her children, Gonon has now had two additional account managers ask for similar arrangements. However, neither had children, so that was not the reason for their individual requests. One employee would not divulge the reason, and the other wanted to train for a marathon.
Further complicating the issue is the tension in Gonon’s department that divides parents and non-parents. Some workers in Gonon’s department feel that parents receive preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling time off for family activities or emergencies. Snarky comments, bumper stickers, and a general aura of dissention showed Gonon that many felt she favored parents over non-parents when it came to the work schedule and the overall workload, which non-parents felt was skewed in favor of the parents, meaning the non-parents were left to work longer hours, more evenings, weekends, and holidays, and that they carried out more of the productivity of the team.
Ultimately, the precise decision that Gonon is faced with is whether or not she could or should allow the two employees who asked for flexible schedules to be granted their requests. Gonon must decide what type of merit upon which to base this decision: should it be based on work productivity? The reason for the request? Tenure? Or should there be a company policy that mandates the reasons for time off requests/scheduling adjustments do not need to be divulged? Gonon will need to look at what is best for the functionality of her department in making this difficult decision.