I’m a few weeks behind (and preparing to celebrate the new year) but I had to wish 9 to 5 a happy 35th anniversary before saying goodbye to 2015! The movie stars the fabulous Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton (along with a hysterically evil Dabney Coleman) and is as funny as it was in 1980. Unfortunately, it’s also just as relatable as it was 35 years ago.
While the fashions and technologies featured in the film may have changed (and secretarial pools have been converted to call centers), the underlying issues are still around. All too often, women still have to deal with sexism in the workplace (even movie stars like Jennifer Lawrence aren’t immune) and are forced to work in hostile environments (politicians too).
There are laws in place to prevent these issues, of course, at both the state and federal level. At the federal level, these laws include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work from sex-based wage discrimination), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (which gives employees the right to jury trials and the ability to recover monetary damages in cases of employment discrimination). In addition, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 addresses employees’ ability to recover for wage discrimination.
Harassment that creates a hostile work employment is also a form of employment discrimination that violates several federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), and/or disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
So there are remedies out there and the problems are getting better but they haven’t disappeared. That’s why 9 to 5 is great viewing decades after it was made – it’s still funny and relevant. And the same can be said of its leads, these many years later. Dolly just had a huge hit with her TV movie, Coat of Many Colors, and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were fantastic in one of my favorite TV shows of the year: Grace and Frankie. Season One was must-see binge-watching and I’m eagerly awaiting Season Two and Season Three (thanks be to Netflix, home of so much awesome original programming!).
And if you haven’t heard Dolly’s title song for the movie, please listen to it now. It’s always awesome!