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In the United States, women’s rights have evolved tremendously. This is a nation in which an individual cannot be discriminated against because of his or her gender when it comes to applying to a job, and it is one in which women hold a record number of positions of authority in governing bodies. However, even though milestones have been achieved with regard to gender equality, gender segregation still occurs and its effects are still being studied. Is this the case in the process serving industry?
The professional process service industry is a small industry — so small, in fact, that the United States Bureau of Labor & Statistics and O*Net do not keep statistics on process servers; instead, civil process servers are grouped in with sheriffs and sheriff deputies on the BLS. While it is true that some sheriffs may serve papers, they typically are not assigned to a unit that solely handles service of process, which obviously make it an inaccurate comparison. No further data was available with regard to the breakdown of men and women in the process serving industry.
Despite being a niche profession, the professional process service industry appears to be largely unaffected by gender segregation. An article posted on BLS.gov highlights one process server, Rebecca, and her experiences as a process server. Although it seems that there are no public statistics kept on gender equality in the civil process service industry, women are serving process alongside their male counterparts, and men and women are serving alongside each other on the boards of professional process server associations.
In 2017, NAPPS (National Association of Professional Process Servers) along with the process server associations for the five states with the largest populations in the United States: CALSPRO (California Association of Professional Process Servers), TPSA (Texas Process Server Association), FAPPS (Flordia Association of Professional Process Servers), NYSPPSA (New York State Professional Process Servers Association) and ILAPPS (Illinois Association of Professional Process Servers), all have women serving on the board of directors. It is particularly noteworthy that both FAPPS and NYSPPSA currently have female presidents.
With men and women serving process alongside each other, it begs the question (for some) whether one gender is better than the other. The reality is, when it comes to hiring a process server, gender should be far down on your list of concerns (or ideally, not there at all).
Hiring a professional process server, regardless of gender, is a safe bet that your papers will be served within your state’s rules and regulations, and in a reliable and accurate manner.
When it comes to gender, character, size, stature, and attitude, the process server’s qualities may matter less than those of the defendant. Understanding who is to be served and the nature of a case can offer more insight on the level of difficulty serving papers. The prosecutor and process server should research the individual to be served in order to tailor the service so that effective service may be made quickly and accurately.
Naturally, some may fear an unknown individual approaching their door, no matter their gender. The job of a process server is to deliver legal documents in a safe manner, for both themselves and the individual being served. Safety precautions do not differ when it comes to preparing for a difficult serve.
Serving during the day instead of late evening increases feelings of safety. Maintaining a friendly tone can ease worries and decrease a hostile interaction. Process servers should also be aware of their appearance and dress in an appropriate manner so that their presence is understood as professional and legitimate.
Process servers can change their approach to appear less intimidating. Doing so could help improve public perception of process servers and help clarify their purpose. If public perception of process servers could change, process servers would be more effective, regardless of gender. This is because people may be less combative and more comfortable accepting papers.
Are you looking to hire a process server and concerned about who would be the most effective? Instead of looking at gender, ask about the process server’s success rate, experience, and resources. A successful process server know their strengths and weaknesses and work to serve papers with accuracy and efficiency.
Overall, regardless of gender, process servers have a distinct advantage over sheriffs, or lay individuals when it comes to serving papers as their main focus is delivering legal documents. They are trained and experienced, increasing their chance of effectuating service successfully. When deliberating who to hire when your need service of process, look for an experience and professional process server who fits the needs of your case.
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