Because Women Can't Have Anything, Here Are 26 Times Bosses Were Casually Sexist Towards Their Employees
"My male boss frequently tells me that 'red isn’t my color.'"
1. "While mansplaining something to me, my boss said, 'Listen, baby.'"
2. "My male boss frequently tells me that 'red isn't my color.' Sometimes he says, 'Wow, I actually approve of your outfit today.' I dress professionally appropriate every day. Once I wore a dress with heeled sandals and he looked me up and down and made me walk in front of him down the hallway."
3. "My boss and his son refer to any job they find too easy or boring as 'good work for the ladies to do,' because they don't want to do it themselves."
4. "My former boss used to refer to me and my younger female colleagues as 'girls.' Also, if we ever disagreed with anything he said, no matter how reasonably or calmly, we were told 'you need to stop whining' — or worse, 'stop bitching' if we were more persistent."
5. "I worked room service at a hotel in college. We kept all the alcohol in a locked closet that only the managers had keys to. One male manager refused to give the keys to female employees."
6. "I was basically an executive assistant for a small company, where I was one of three women. My male boss tasked me with helping find a particular new car for the office. I came back with a list of a dozen cars matching what he wanted, and he looked at it and went, 'Wow, I'm surprised you actually knew how to look this up!' Like, what?"
7. "A male superior walked in on a conversation I was having with my female colleague and thought he heard me mention something about having kids. He tapped his watch and said, 'Well, you're not getting any younger!'"
8. "I'm a supervisor at a healthcare company. I had to meet with my boss, another supervisor, and his boss, to discuss why I had denied something. I was firm, but not aggressive. I laid out the facts with no emotion. My boss called me later to tell me that I had been too mean and that I needed to apologize. I told her right away that we wouldn't be having this conversation if I were a man."
9. "I walked into my boss's office and offhandedly mentioned that it was cold. He proceeded to explain to me that 75% of women have some medical problem where their blood doesn't circulate properly."
10. "I came to find out my boss offered me the job because he was so impressed that I could handle being a mom and a full-time teacher without 'falling apart' (his words) while my husband was deployed. It had nothing to do with my actual accomplishments in the classroom."
11. "I accidentally rolled my office chair into, not over, my boss's foot, so I apologized. He responded with, 'Oh it's okay, I'm always cautious when women are driving.'"
12. "I was exchanging emails with my older male boss — he’s in his mid-40s and I’m in my mid-30s. His latest email included a pun, so in my response I included a pun of my own. In his follow-up, he said that I was 'too young and too female' to be making jokes like that."
13. "I used to work a job where we made breakfast. One day, my coworkers and I had a meeting with the owner about needing to make sure that we dumped our bacon grease into the big bucket and not into the sink. He looked directly at me and said, 'Your husband is not going to enjoy cleaning out the sink drain because you didn't feel like dumping the grease out.'"
14. "When I worked as a meat cutter, most of the team were men, including my boss. He suggested that I should wear just a T-shirt and put my hair up in pigtails for NFL Spirit Day. Ugh!!!"
15. "My boss strictly divides work by sex; if you're female, you work mornings/early afternoons and cook and clean, if you're male, you work afternoon/evenings, lift boxes (no more than 25 lbs), change trash, and do 'outside maintenance.'"
16. "I had a new boss actually come out and ask, 'What are you and your husband's plans for the next few years? Kids? I just need to plan how this campaign will work and if you'll be around,' implying that if I had kids, I would mess up his work plan."
17. "I always call out bad behavior at work. Racist comments, sexual harassment that isn't being addressed, you name it. If I bring up these issues with my boss, he usually agrees with me, but he ALWAYS responds first by saying 'calm down.'"
18. "I had a manager once who treated me like such an idiot because I was a young female. He constantly belittled me in front of customers and gaslighted me when we were out of something, claiming that we had it and I just couldn’t find it, until he couldn't find it himself. Once he asked me to sweep at closing, then he held the broom and asked if I had 'ever used one of these things before.' Then he said, 'Oh, of course you have' before handing it to me."
19. "My sister used to be a waiter and her BOSS, who was a woman, told her and the other female waiters to be all smiley and give all the attention to the man at the table because he's paying and they'd get bigger tips."
20. "One of our 'silent' partners was going over the dress code, which only included skirts. I feel more comfortable wearing pants because I have to move around a lot, so I asked if women were allowed to wear pants — to be a little petty — and he had to ASK HIS WIFE if women own black dress pants."
21. "As a host, I was sexually harassed by male customers and I felt unsafe, so I reported it to my manager. He told me I was 'overreacting' and that the customers were all regular and treated every female staff member like that. I didn't stay on much longer after that."
22. "The GM of the bar I worked at decided that only men could bartend."
23. "My male district manager and my female manager chided me over equal pay for equal work laws and told me it was 'illegal' to discuss wages with coworkers — it's legal under federal and state law, and it's fine under company policy. Then they chastised me like I was an embarrassingly stupid toddler for over 20 minutes for writing HR about this issue."
24. "I was the manager at a Fortune 500 company and my general manager told me that he would like my help organizing an area of the workplace, because it needed a 'woman's touch.'"
25. "My old boss would only take advice and suggestions from males. It was subtle because he would nod and smile as you made the suggestion, but he would only follow through with things my male colleagues said."
26. And finally, "When I told my employer I had decided to go back to school to get a master's in divinity (i.e. become a pastor), he said, 'Well, the men must be failing if God is raising up women.'"
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.