It Just Takes One Person!
The reality is that it only takes one person to change the dynamics in an office or workplace. One person with racial biases and a desire to act upon those biases can change a workplace you enjoy into a workplace where you--and other minorities--become targets.
I always wish everyone the best and hope that they don't have to deal with any of the stuff I write about on this blog. However, it's really easy to go from an environment you love into an environment of turmoil. It only takes one transfer or one new hire or one new executive to change the vibe and dynamics at your workplace.
One person with an agenda or one person who jumps at every opportunity to get into it with workers they feel are beneath them or are ignorant or are lazy or are any other stereotypical caricature can end up making you miserable and can end up having you on shaky professional ground.
We may have a "one person" at my current job. While doing inventory, a coworker (Black) mentioned that another worker (Hispanic/White) reported her to management and accused her of being physically abusive to him. He says she shoved him and that he doesn't like to be "touched or abused." The Black coworker's version of the story has the Hispanic/White worker shoving her. She says that after losing her balance, she stood up. As she stood, she brushed up against him because he was still standing right on top of her after knocking her over. Yet, this guy reports her as shoving him. Luckily for the Black worker, there were witnesses who could explain what happened. So, she didn't get written up, suspended or terminated.
The reason I'm writing about this is because this is the same guy I wrote about a few weeks ago, who ended up getting a Black male worker terminated--alleging physical abuse by that worker. Witnesses have told me the guy reached out and touched him as he was making a point to the Hispanic/White worker. I was told it wasn't a punch, slap, shove....nothing. But, the Black worker still lost his job.
Now, I'm told by several workers that, last week, this same Hispanic/White guy got another Black worker suspended--for verbal and physical abuse.
It seems that the Hispanic/White worker may have finally tipped his hand. The Black female worker, having the most recent dispute with him, says that the manager refused to repeat some of the language he used about her, but would admit that "it was really bad." The Black worker said the implication was that he made negative racial commentary about her. The Black worker has written a statement about the incident and submitted it to management.
It would appear that it is just dawning on management that this guy has a problem with Black workers AND that he may be exaggerating or lying about incidents at work.
At many workplaces, not making complaints about discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation in GOOD FAITH would result in employment action, up to and including termination. Lying and exaggeration are not acts of good faith!!
I am very interested in finding out and/or observing what happens to this worker in the near-term.
As always, I'm taking notes on what I'm hearing through the grapevine. If this guy manages to stay around--and I should have to interact with him--I want to make sure I've got some information on him that I can use to my advantage, should anything jump off.
If you are forced to work with that "one person," who can make life a living hell and have you subjected to employment actions, such as suspension and up to and including termination, make sure to document everything you know about the person. If you end up clashing with this person or targeted by this person, you can point to prior bad acts by this individual in making your case that they are not credible and that their accusations against you can't be used as a basis for employment decisions.