After working for a few weeks, her (male) bosses asked her to get their coffee for them. She declined, and her manager e-mailed her, saying: "This is not open for debate. Please don’t make an easy task a big deal." Klopfenstein felt that getting coffee "reinforced outdated gender stereotypes," so the next day, when she was asked to get coffee again, she sent an e-mail that read: "I don't expect to serve and wait on you by making and serving you coffee every day." Nine minutes later, she was fired. Klopfenstein promptly sued the company for sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. The judge ruled: "The act of getting coffee is not, by itself, a gender-specific act," and dismissed the case. But Klopfenstein's attorneys argue that "Some tasks are inherently more offensive to women."Seriously? So are her lawyers arguing that asking a male receptionist to get coffee would be okay, but it's not okay if she's a woman?
I don't want anyone fetching me coffee. And in fact, I sometimes bring my staff coffee. But if I asked someone to do a task that could reasonably fall in their purview (and like it or not, getting coffee isn't crazy for a receptionist), after having already had to talk to them about it once, and they replied with Klopfenstein's snippy email, I'd think about firing them too. And who says something that attitude-laden three weeks on the job?
(Although to be more precise, I wouldn't fire the person on the spot. I'd warn them and explain my expectations and what sorts of responses are and aren't acceptable, and I'd find out if the person was interested in working under those conditions. Still, I can understand why they fired her immediately -- she demonstrated an attitude problem that was unlikely to go away.)
And I am a woman, if that matters, which it doesn't.