My guess is that lawyers there are happy that he didn’t make this speech while he was still CEO, Jack Welch: Women Take Time Off for Kids at Their Peril. Or at least how his speech to the national SHRM conference in New Orleans is being reported.
Among the quotes from the speech as provided by the ABA Journal on line publication, ““There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” Also that women who take “take time off for family could be passed over for promotions if they are ‘not there in the clutch.'”
And just in case the point was not made:
Welch said women who take time off can still “have a nice career,” but their chances of reaching the top are smaller, according to the Wall Street Journal account. “We’d love to have more women moving up faster,” he said. “But they’ve got to make the tough choices and know the consequences of each one.”
It may be that some of his comments were pulled out of context that would have made them seem a little less damning, and it also may be that he is speaking the mind of what many in the workplace (women and men) actually think. In other words saying what is real, not what would be ideal.
But if you were having to defend a discriminatory failure to promote because of gender case brought by a female executive who has taken one or more parental leaves, you would not feel grand about having these words standing as fairly large hurdles to overcome.