Speakfully Insider: Valerie Martinelli

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Welcome to Speakfully Insider, a weekly series featuring thought leaders on important topics surrounding workplace mistreatment, company culture, workplace safety, social justice and more.  

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Valerie Martinelli & I am the Founder & CEO of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC in which I use my passion & expertise in Career Coaching to train & coach professionals & executives to land new roles, cultivate their careers, and earn a massive salary increase through 1:1 & group coaching & strategy.

In your opinion, what comprises workplace mistreatment specifically related to gender equality?

It means to me that someone is being treated differently or less favorably due to their gender or sex. It can mean that:

  • The candidate is not hired or is assigned a lower paying position, despite their qualifications, due to their gender or sex.
  • Held to different or higher standards, being evaluated more harshly, because of one’s sex. Or one does not act or present themselves in a manner that conforms to traditional norms, standards, or ideas of femininity or masculinity.
  • Paid less than a person of a different sex who is similarly or less qualified, or who has similar (or fewer) job duties.
  • Denied a promotion, pay raise, a training, and/ or professional development opportunity that is given to people of another sex who are equally or less qualified.
  • Rejected for a role, forced out on leave, or given fewer assignments due to pregnancy.
  • Intentionally or repeatedly called by a name or referred to as a different gender other than one identified with.
  • Insulted, called derogatory names because of a specific sex, or hearing hostile remarks about people of a certain sex, gender, or gender identity.
  • Written up or disciplined for an action that other employees of a different sex do but never receive punishment for.

How would you describe workplace issues involving mistreatment decades ago to the current environment?

In some ways it has improved {with new laws and legal protections} and in others it has worsened because as a society we have evolved, and we need our public policies and workplace policies to evolve and grow with us. We are also more aware now than decades ago, so we are more prepared to call it out when we see it and deal with it accordingly.  

How may general workplace mistreatment effect the cultural dynamic of an organization.

Workplace mistreatment has a negative effect on the cultural dynamic of an organization. It impacts job satisfaction and motivation and it also negatively impacts commitment and loyalty. It increases the turnover rate. It harms an organization’s reputation and makes an uphill battle in their recruitment and hiring efforts because talented workers will be forced to look elsewhere. Workplace mistreatment also increases an organization’s liability. Moreover, workplace mistreatment will have financial effects on a business because its employees will no longer be productive, happy, or efficient. This can be a breeding ground for further negativity and employees looking for new roles in an organization with a better reputation.

 In your opinion, what attributes to the growing proportion of gender equality workplace mistreatment cases becoming public?

Awareness.

Women are no longer afraid to speak up as we now have a growing awareness of what is “normal” and what is not. We know that we may not be equally represented in each workplace, however; we do know that we should be equally respected. We fought long and hard to get to this point and we can only continue to grow the awareness by speaking out and calling out mistreatment when it occurs with hopes that it will educate and encourage other women and younger generations to do the same.

What steps do you believe will help in making workplace mistreatment and fear of retaliation a thing of the past?

Transforming public and workplace policies to support the changes that are needed. We also need better leadership- more transparency, better people management, and more employees speaking up and speaking out when it occurs to help shift and change the norms.

If you could sit down with a historical figure to discuss creating a healthier workplace environment, who would it be, what would you discuss, and why? 

I would love to sit down and chat with Eleanor Roosevelt because she was a huge champion and pioneer of the women’s movement. Because of this, I think that she could lend some interesting insights into creating a healthier workplace environment. I would love to discuss with her views of ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment) because she believed that if was ratified it would have erased all the laws that discriminated against women. She believed that an amendment that got rid of all the protective legislation for women in the workplace would be detrimental. She did change her views and continued her advocacy work for women, which I think has had a huge impact on current women’s rights movements and our sustained progress.