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Op-Ed: Senator Klobuchar is a Bad Boss, But You Only Care Because You’re Sexist

The New York Times ran an article on Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher on Friday, depicting the treatment over her an aide that misplaced her fork. The senator, once told she had no fork, scolded the aide, used a comb she had on her person, and once finished with her salad, made the aide clean it. The article punctuated other incidences involving Senator Klobucher, such as her throwing objects such as binders at her aides, and harshly scolding aides at minuscule mistakes.

Senator Klobucher is no saint, as no human being is. However, if the allegations of her are true, then she is a horrible boss. Forcing someone to clean a comb used to eat food with, making lower level employees clean your dishes, throwing a binder at staff when aggravated, and threatening repeatedly to fire someone in front of other coworkers and make them consistently cry is a work environment that no one should be subjected to, especially a person working for someone representing an entire state. That’s not even mentioning the paid leave for family members her office implemented, which required that workers who took 12 weeks of parental leave to stay at the office three times of work that they have missed. Klobucher’s Senate office claimed that the policy was not enforced at all, yet have scrapped it once it was mentioned in The New York Times. It should be no surprise that Senator Klobucher is ranked the third worst boss to work for in the Senate.

While Klobucher’s treatment of staff is at best critical and quick thinking or “tough love,” at worst it is emotional and verbal abuse. Keep in mind however, that these allegations against her cropped up in February, and have attracted more media attention since then. Perhaps the aides and staff are not sexist for reporting their stories to news outlets, yet the multitude of articles discussing these allegations certainly are. The behavior that Klobucher uses– other male senators use and are not called attention to as intensely. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yells to make his point across, he has hushed Hillary Clinton to interrupt her with his own points, and he has met with and apologized to former staffers who have alleged to be sexually harassed or facing sexism while on his campaign. However, this is brushed over, Sander’s behavior a lovable trait, that an SNL skit highlighted, excuses him from being scrutinized as female legislators are. Most memorable is former White House Chief of Staff and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel who has violently exploded to reporters, but has been an advocate of his own staff having “thick skin” or be on “25/8.” He is praised in current representation in the media for being fearless.

A survey shows that female leaders are liked less by men and women alike. Male leaders don’t appear to have that issue. In the worst boss list mentioned above, more than half of the worst bosses are women. That may be because these women are horrible bosses, but the sexist way women are treated by the media, and compared to men definitely mean something. Senator Klobucher needs to be a better boss, but media outlets need to be less sexist.

Photo: Michael Reynolds / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

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Mia Boccher
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