Hiding a world of sin
By Rod Van Mechelen
Years ago, feminists assured the world that women would do a better job of leading companies and countries than men. That they would be more honest, compassionate, have more integrity and deliver better, safer products and services. That their style of leadership would prove to be, not a liability, but the "female advantage." As the doors to the managerial and executive suites opened for women, however, what they proved, more than anything else, is that a woman can be at least as bad as a man.
Too Many Secrets
1996 Bellevue, Wash. - Employers everywhere require their employees to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) as a condition of employment. Ostensibly, this is to protect legitimate company secrets. The recipe for McDonald's secret sauce. That sort of thing.
But they are also used to hide a world of sin.
The recent case of the TV news magazine versus a large tobacco company, for example. The reporter relied on the revelations of a former tobacco company employee, who, so the tobacco pushers alleged, violated the provisions of his NDA to reveal that they had been lying to the public all along.
The question is, are wrongdoings covered under NDAs?
If an employee knows his boss is bilking the government, he's protected against prosecution by the "whistle blower" law. He may never "work in this town, again," but at least he can't be sued. But what if his employer is merely endangering the lives of their customers? Or is somehow ripping off his fellow employees? Certainly, he can try to find some angle for filing a lawsuit (assuming he can afford the considerable expense), but blow the whistle? An army of corporate lawyers is ready to say, "no way!"
Really? Then, we should expect them to be prepared to tell us the scope of these NDAs. Is it okay to divulge the name of our employer? Can we talk to our friends or family, tell them how work went, today? Can we complain to a confidant (who just happens to be a reporter) about the supervisor who is sexually harassing us? What if we know our department's controller has been fudging numbers to make it look like we owe a vendor less than we actually do? Is it okay to squeal? Or is fraud covered by an NDA?
Where is the line drawn between legitimate company secrets, and things not covered by the NDA? Why isn't the distinction made clear in the verbiage of the NDA? Why leave it up to us to guess?
The most likely explanation is, employers want us to be confused and a little afraid to ask -- if we don't know, then what can't they get away with?
No one is more apt to take advantage of this than feminists in business. From sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and racism, to lying, backstabbing and outright fraud, women are proving themselves as greedy, beguiling and domineering as any man, and they rely on the employee NDAs to keep this a secret.
Women In Charge
Take the now defunct software company, Egghead Software, for example: a few weeks after The Seattle Times published an article about me that we would be charitable to call "inaccurate," the director of my department at Egghead, called me into my manager's office to say they had "eliminated" my position. This is no secret -- the "elimination" letter, aside from offering me roughly $500 to promise never to say anything bad about the company, also invited me to tell everyone this is why I was let go.
More than a year later, it turned out the best friend of one of my neighbors in Bellevue was a former Egghead employee, too. When my former coworker found out I was her friend's next-door neighbor, she told how the feminists at Egghead, led by this director, used The Seattle Times article as an excuse to get rid of me. That the only other person who had the same job title as I -- a woman -- was kept on doing precisely the same job as before, they simply changed her job title. Everybody was talking about it, she said.
Was it a violation of her NDA for her to reveal this? Egghead would almost certainly say it was. Because she talked about it with a friend? (How many of her feminist coworkers did the same?) Or because her friend was the neighbor of their prey? And would Egghead also have asserted I was violating...something...because I passed along information I obtained from someone who violated her NDA to talk about it? If it's true, and perfectly legal, then why would Egghead have cared if it was made public? It doesn't divulge any details of their business relationships with their customers. Nothing having anything to do with software, sales strategies, new product pipelines in the works. Should it be a secret?
If it should, then why? If not, then I have lots more to share -- like how the director's administrative assistant, who frequently talked about how much she disliked men, always came to department meetings carrying a mug that had printed on its side, "Men, where would we be without them? At the top of the corporate ladder." Provocative and misandristic, to say the least. Is that what they're trying to hide?
Women: Some Good, Some Bad
Sadly, this is mild by comparison with some of the behaviors I've witnessed. When Carol Bartz was CEO of Autodesk, she lied to the employees at Autodesk Retail Products, where I worked at the time. One of our managers, bless her heart, sent out a company-wide email exposing not only that Bartz lied to us, but that she fudged the numbers in the Annual Report. A serious omission hundreds of employees knew about. In retaliation, Bartz fired her. Would the lies qualify as a legitimate company secret covered by an employee NDA?
Employers rely on NDAs to hide a world of sin, and feminists are as guilty of this as any man.
In America, we expect our employers to deal with us honestly and treat us with respect. Years ago, that's what feminists demanded for women, and it was a very good idea. Too bad so many women chose to take the opportunities afforded them to prove, not how good they can be, but how bad.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.