Organizations must understand that such situations are part of modern business. We must also train managers and HR to deal with racist comments professionally. There are many things that we don’t know. We don’t have any idea of the company policy if any. We do not have access to the HR representative’s statements or any corrective actions taken.
However, I believe it is worth having a conversation about what happens when your personal views differ from those of the company.
I reached out to Kate Bischoff, our friend and employment lawyer at K8bisch LLC and asked if she would share some of her experiences with us. She agreed to share her experience. Kate shared her experiences with us several times. Her comments about ” Ageism at Work” are my favorite.
Kate’s comments are not intended to be taken as legal advice. You should contact your local labor attorney if you have any specific questions.
It is. Managers are held to different standards than employees. HR can also be held to different standards. HR is important in ensuring that harassment and discrimination do not occur. Therefore, our words and conduct must reflect this.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to have policies that prevent employees from commenting publicly on current events. This would be like saying, “You can’t have an idea.” We want people to have opinions.
We want people to be able to see the consequences of their opinions. Your opinions can hurt our workplace. We, as organizations, must ensure that we do not foster such toxic behavior. When I lead training on this, we discuss what it would feel like to work with a manager who has made racist comments, even though it was off work. It would be difficult, most people agree. Fairness can only be achieved through transparency. Explain why the organization took this action, the consequences of the employee’s behavior, and why HR should not condone such harmful and possibly illegal behavior. It would be useful to explain the reasons and then turn the situation to the employee’s demographics. First, recognize the impact of the current event. Black Lives Matter is about making Black people’s lives count in our society. It is nonpartisan, as confirmed by Trump Administration. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also endorses it. What does it look like for an organization to distance itself from this message? Is it like the organization is saying that Black lives don’t matter? Or is the organization taking other actions? Over the last few months, I have recommended that clients put their efforts into doing what is right for them. Find those points in an employee’s life cycle where bias can affect decisions and encourage people to challenge them. Establish meaningful, real relationships with local organizations. Talk to your local synagogues, mosques, and churches about how you can find talent. Hire facilitators to organize antiracist reading groups or hire staff to create employee resource groups (ERGs).
Employers can cancel culture because it is safer, risk-free, and often the best thing for their company. This anti-BLM post will make Black employees nervous and afraid to approach HR about a problem. This is exactly the opposite of what HR wants to promote. This will be “Exhibit A” in any racial discrimination or harassment claims. Although I don’t think any organization is pro-cancel culture, many are antiracist. It is better to be antiracist rather than worrying about whether canceling a racist will cause problems.
We are grateful to Kate for sharing her experiences with us. Please check out Kate’s blog to get more insight and her other articles on HR Bartender.
Businesses can’t succeed if they ignore the happenings in their community. This is not limited to geographical location. Employees expect to be treated with respect and fairness by their employers. Customers want to feel confident that the companies they spend their money with do the right things. Investors want to see that businesses are aware and aware of the world around them.