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Woman Livid After Company Sets Up March Madness Brackets For Men’s Basketball But Not Women’s

Photo by Elisa Ventur/Unsplash

It’s 2022 and the culture shift is still well underway.

People are getting back to the office now.

And everything we went through is being worked into the new normal.

Clearly getting it all right is going to take some time.

Case in point…

Redditor throwAIT4353 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my direct employee if she wants to set up a March Madness Bracket for women’s basketball she is welcome to but I am not going to make another coworker set it up for her?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I work for a medium sized engineering firm, we are in one of the satellite offices.”

“So long story short, one of the employees on another team decided to set up a March Madness bracket.”

“And everyone in the office is allowed to participate and the one who places best gets free merchandise from the company we usually give to clients.”

“We were having a meeting on Monday and one of my directs, call her Lisa, asked if this bracket included women’s.”

“I was like no it’s just men.”

“She is like ‘that’s completely unfair that, we need to also promote women’s sports’.”

“I was like ‘this isn’t coming from the company it’s from an employee who is setting it up’.”

“She is like ‘well he should do for both men and women’s brackets’.”

“I was like ‘you are more than welcome to set up a woman’s bracket and I can get HR to create a prize pool for your bracket as well’.”

“She got even more mad at that saying that ‘it’s bull that we need to step up and be more inclusive as a company’.”

“I was like ‘no one is stopping you’.”

“She then says she isn’t into basketball in general.”

“But that there are people in this company that are and we are robbing that opportunity for those that are into women’s basketball.”

“She then goes on to say that the person that set up the men’s bracket should be required to do both, especially since the company is giving away prizes.”

“I was like ‘let me know before Thursday if you find someone who does want to set up the women’s bracket’.”

“Was I wrong here?”

“HR did not get involved at all.”

“And I don’t want this to become a bigger of a deal than it is but personally I just wanted to see if I handled it well.


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors had mixed judgments.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA – Offering to sponsor it if she wants to set it up was the appropriate equivalent response.”  ~ EwokCafe

“I feel like this woman is the reason that company’s don’t usually get involved with things like this and ruins the fun for everyone.”

“I think OP’s response was totally appropriate.”  ~ gnomeo77

“Yeah it’s called sea lawyering sometimes.”

“OP is on the ball, let this woman set up this thing that she cares so passionately about it and then nobody will be left out. NTA.”  ~ KombuchaBot

“Agree. It’s not as though OP or the company set it up it was another employee who set it up and OP offered to help.”

“Even if Lisa went to HR they’d probably tell her something similar or tell her to make her own.”  ~ Mangobunny98

“Once the company got involved by supporting the other employee’s efforts, this became a company issue.”

“If HR is supporting the pool and the company is providing prizes and adding value to the event, it is indeed the company’s responsibility to make sure the pool is handled fairly and without discrimination.”

“The fact that you have an employee raising an issue means it’s likely not.”

“Either keep things fair or keep the company out of it.”

“Why risk issues over a basketball pool?”

“If you don’t handle this using a more effective method than telling your employee to ‘create your own pool,’ you’re likely going to get the whole event shut down.”

“Not really an a**hole or not issue, talk to your HR.”  ~ nekkidpoolparty

“Except you’re missing the point that the company has already offered a non-discriminatory solution that is perfectly fair and reasonable.”

“Let me spell it out. Employee sets up a March Madness bracket.”

“Company offers to supply prizes.”

“Female employee gets upset there is no Woman’s March Madness bracket.”

“Company offers to supply prizes if female employee organizes the Woman’s Bracket, just as the other employee is organizing the Men’s bracket.”

“Female employee is too lazy to do so. This is her issue.”

“She wants to complain and act like a victim and then when presented with a perfectly reasonable and fair solution, she declines to actually follow through.”  ~ DistractedAttorney

“They’re involved, but this is not discrimination, unless they’re only allowing male employees to participate in the contest, or if they sponsored only the men’s bracket but not the women’s.”

“It seems like they’ve said pretty plainly that they would also sponsor a staff-organized contest for the women’s bracket if anyone wants to organize it.”

“They did not organize the men’s bracket, and they are not now compelled to organize the women’s.”

“OP, I think you handled this as well as you could, but you may want to mention it to HR so that they’re aware. NTA.”  ~ ivanvector

“Even with the company involved I don’t really think it’s discriminatory.”

“If the person running it wasn’t allowing female employees to participate then that would be a problem but they aren’t doing that.”

“The person just objects to the event being used for the competition.”

“As an analogy, if the person complained that they were running a March Madness tournament rather than a Fantasy Football tournament there would be no suggestion that it was problem.”

“At the same time, I do agree with your penultimate sentence, if HR feels that this is creating ill-will among employees they definitely won’t support it next year.”  ~ adeon

“For it to be sexist, the pool would have to be excluding employees from participating based on their gender, race, religion, etc.”

“It isn’t discriminatory for the company to only run a men’s basketball bracket.”

“And I say this as someone who wishes more people would follow & be excited about the WNBA and women’s college basketball.”

“It would be awesome if an employee started a NCAA women’s basketball bracket, but it isn’t sexist on the company’s part that their employee only did a NCAA men’s bracket.”

“I’m also annoyed that the woman didn’t take OP up on the offer for support for her to do her own bracket.”

“She had a chance to make a small difference, but instead just did empty complaining.”

“Or else she thought for a minute and realized how much work it would be to run the March Madness thing.” ~ ninaa1

“The company is formally supporting an activity created around the NCAA championship tournament, but only actively supporting the men’s side of it.”

“While an employee created the tournament pool, the firm has now thrown in on their support for the promotion of and the participation in said pool.”

“Although men and women in the office alike are being allowed to participate in the pool.”

“The overall gist is that the men’s side of the the tournament is the only side getting attention, and worthwhile of getting attention.”

“Whether that’s dramatic or not, it’s noticeable and an employee brought up a concern.”

“There was an easy opportunity to neutralize the situation and to avoid larger concerns by the manager simply saying, ‘I’ll grab some additional prizes from HR and print out the women’s bracket alongside the men’s’.”

“Let your employees know that even if an individual employee creates a game or a tournament or a special event.”

“The company will make sure that it is representative of both men and women involved etc.”

“The fairness occurs when you have your entire staff feeling seen and supported by their management team.”

“While legally, I doubt this single woman would have a discrimination case, the point is that’s not the point.”

“Small things add up. Feeling supported or not adds up.”

“Camaraderie amongst a staff makes a difference.”

“And allows for a healthier and happier working environment where people can participate in things like this without it turning into a problem that makes its way to Reddit.”

“Do I think OP is an a**hole?”

“I honestly don’t think this subReddit is the appropriate place for his question, so I declined to vote and told him as much.”

“Do I think he missed an opportunity to be a good leader? Yes, absolutely.”

“This subReddit is in the business of judging a single act and while I feel the folks voting N T A are completely reasonable in their assessment.”

“I still can simultaneously feel like he missed the boat on this.”  ~ nekkidpoolparty

“NTA. Lisa sounds exhausting.”  ~ lis_amazing25

Sounds like overall, Reddit understands where OP is coming from, but also recognizes the event became company affiliated as soon as they offered company prizes.

The best take was the OP shouldn’t have said anything since they didn’t know the appropriate response and instead consulted HR.