Thursday, July 10, 2008

Force Coworkers To Commit Facts To Writing

One of the saddest things I’ve witnessed in the workplace was how many Black workers were able to just sit back and watch a Black manager (and good friend to all of them) be falsely accused of causing problems in the workplace and how many of them allowed themselves to be used in the false allegations.

When my friend was under attack, her subordinates signed statements written by White managers that accused her of mistreating them. Other Black staff in her department allowed White managers to say that they had made verbal complaints about her, when they did not. They made no moves to correct the statements being attributed to them. Black staff took money, bribes (tickets to sports events), etc. all at the expense of this Black manager.

“I don’t know anything,” was a common remark from many of these staff members. Then, they’d turn around and gossip about what they knew. They had no shame in the fact that they knew they were withholding information that could have exonerated the Black manager.

So, my strategy for dealing with people like this is for you to attempt to engage them in written conversations about what is going on at work. The moment you see that you are engaged in some sort of race-based issue at work, try to force your allies, friends, coworkers, etc. to comment on the issue in writing.

Why do I suggest this?

For the reasons detailed above. Many of these people may never admit to what they know, when they are questioned about what happened in the office. Or, these “friends” and coworkers may lie for professional gain or just because.

So, when something happens, hit a witness with an email asking, “Can you believe what just happened?” Or, “Did you hear what she said?” Obviously, this works well with staff you already have a positive relationship with and with whom you have a history of discussing sensitive or personal issues.

Slip in some discussions about specific events and comments. Let the person go along with it. Later, if the person claims to not know anything, you’ve got contradictory written evidence—from them! If the person lies and/or tries to set you up on behalf of the company, you can also show how they are changing their story. The emails can be included as submissions to EEOC, a lawyer, etc. People can be subpoenaed in a complaint or legal case to provide testimony.

Regardless of what the person says, written exchanges about events can corroborate your version of events.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to be another phase in discrimination. This seems to be the 21st Century "lynching campaign". Because of federal laws and media scrutiny, no longer can we be hung by trees and publicly mutilated and intimidated as we once were. (Some state laws may still have these actions as legal.) We can be publicly, economically lynched by mobs still protecting their own self-interests. This economic mob lynching coordinated and condoned by dominant culture leadership now seems to be the best way to intimidate.

Using fear of termination and inciting others to comply with evidence gathering to combat true discrimination is part of Human Resource training now. Collective intimidation and humiliation of good black leaders in corporate America is the norm and, of course, just a subset of our society. Driven by history this systematic economic lynching will worsen if left unchecked.

What better way than to get blacks/women to condemn other blacks/women? This ignorance creates the company's defense against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges. This defense and failure to develop and nurture an appropriate work environment is one of the unsaid, unspoken truths about the decline of competitive edge, innovation and progress in America.

On the other side of this is our inability to "snitch", our inability to fight for right and our own protection of our own self-interests. Generation X parents were so busy trying to "make it" they forgot to impart responsibility for our actions to the collective future of our children. Uninformed parents waited for someone else to teach children to fight for excellence. The communities lost the importance of speaking up against unjust acts lest you be treated unjustly.

Human Resource departments work to protect the company. Who works to protect the employee? We are headed back toward slavery, slowly but surely...

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My union rep once told me that a member who was Asian had the wrong idea about human resource. She complained about mistreatment by her boss to human resource. She thought human resource was there to protect staff. Of course, you guess it. Human resource turned against her to protect the company. Friends advised her to join the union & pay membership fee. Only then did she have someone fighting for her plight. We have to be very clear in our heads that human resource work AGAINST workers, period!

7:28 AM  

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