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This article describes the masculine culture in law firms and analyzes how this culture harms both men and women because of their gender. Part II explains MMT, and analyzes the masculine practices that exist in modern law firms. Part III studies a lawsuit brought by a law firm associate, a white male father of two who allegedly was fired in retaliation for taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and because of his failure to adhere to the macho stereotypes prevalent in the law firm. Part IV analyzes how the law should respond to masculine norms, and suggests that many law firms that impose masculine work norms on their associates violate Title VII's prohibition of gender-based discrimination unless these law firms can prove that gender-based cultural norms and requirements are bona fide occupational qualifications for the job. The article concludes that, by viewing the law firm through the lens of a father who has a non-traditional relationship with his family, MMT allows us to understand how gendered requirements in law firms harm parents — men and women — with caregiving responsibilities. Many of these requirements and expectations are not necessary to the performance of the job or to the firm's business. To the extent that they are not, firms should rethink these requirements that are discouraging women (and many men) from working in law firms.

Publication Citation

8 FIU L. Rev. 423