Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Post Today


Monday, August 30, 2010

I was recently looking at the EEOC website and thought it would be good to share a listing of the prohibited employment practices they have listed. It's a good reminder of all the ways that people have and continue to discriminate against others. The sad part is this isn't a complete list, which can be found at the link below.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/index.cfm


Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices
Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The law forbids discrimination in every aspect of employment.

The laws enforced by EEOC prohibit an employer or other covered entity from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative effect on applicants or employees of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin, or on an individual with a disability or class of individuals with disabilities, if the polices or practices at issue are not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business. The laws enforced by EEOC also prohibit an employer from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older, if the policies or practices at issue are not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

Job Advertisements
It is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

For example, a help-wanted ad that seeks "females" or "recent college graduates" may discourage men and people over 40 from applying and may violate the law.

It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic.

Application & Hiring
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, an employer may not refuse to give employment applications to people of a certain race.

An employer may not base hiring decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

If an employer requires job applicants to take a test, the test must be necessary and related to the job and the employer may not exclude people of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, or individuals with disabilities. In addition, the employer may not use a test that excludes applicants age 40 or older if the test is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

If a job applicant with a disability needs an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) to apply for a job, the employer is required to provide the accommodation, so long as the accommodation does not cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.

Job Referrals
It is illegal for an employer, employment agency or union to take into account a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information when making decisions about job referrals.

Job Assignments & Promotions
It is illegal for an employer to make decisions about job assignments and promotions based on an employee's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, an employer may not give preference to employees of a certain race when making shift assignments and may not segregate employees of a particular national origin from other employees or from customers.

An employer may not base assignment and promotion decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

If an employer requires employees to take a test before making decisions about assignments or promotions, the test may not exclude people of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin, or individuals with disabilities, unless the employer can show that the test is necessary and related to the job. In addition, the employer may not use a test that excludes employees age 40 or older if the test is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.

Pay And Benefits
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee in the payment of wages or employee benefits on the bases of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Employee benefits include sick and vacation leave, insurance, access to overtime as well as overtime pay, and retirement programs. For example, an employer many not pay Hispanic workers less than African-American workers because of their national origin, and men and women in the same workplace must be given equal pay for equal work.

In some situations, an employer may be allowed to reduce some employee benefits for older workers, but only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger workers.

Discipline & Discharge
An employer may not take into account a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information when making decisions about discipline or discharge. For example, if two employees commit a similar offense, an employer many not discipline them differently because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

When deciding which employees will be laid off, an employer may not choose the oldest workers because of their age.

Employers also may not discriminate when deciding which workers to recall after a layoff.

Employment References
It is illegal for an employer to give a negative or false employment reference (or refuse to give a reference) because of a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think Through the Accusations

If you're being documented for performance deficiencies, you have to really read through the accusations line-by-line. It is easy for an employer to try to hide red-flag words in documentation, as well as to set you up for the big finale--termination.

An employer can use red flag words like "consistently" and "regularly" to make it seem that you have a history of certain negative behaviors. They might also use false documentation to set you up for termination...down the line. For instance, make a few mid-level accusations that warrant putting you on a corrective action plan & then saying you didn't make progress or improvement and need suspension or termination. They could just be laying the groundwork!

Read everything carefully & challenge everything that's wrong. No issue is too small because employers are great at making a mountain out of a mole hill. Don't be argumentative in your own defense. Just state the facts professionally. Use examples. Use your own documentation to make your points about any instructions you received, etc.

If someone else is responsible for an error being made, state who did what & where the problem occurred.

Don't leave anything to chance. Read & respond.

Monday, August 23, 2010


When a lot of us get angry we tend to start mouthing off & making threats. It's a natural reaction...just human nature. In the workplace, when you are being targeted, less is definitely more.

The less you make threats--even if you plan to carry them out--the better things will be for you. Don't get yourself labeled as emotional and out of control or even as insubordinate. So, take it as easy as you can and keep focused on what's important.

Your employer would love to make you out to be some raving lunatic because that would help destroy your credibility.

So don't make threats-especially about lawsuits--and don't act out. Remember, less is more. Don't give your employer ammunition.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Unlawful Harassment By Supervisors

My last post was about speaking up and letting employers know that you are experiencing abuse or some other problem at work. This post speaks about liability. One of the reasons that employers might not be liable for harassment includes that an "employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise."

Failing to report harassment to anyone would likely be seen as not taking advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities. How could the employer stop your harassment if you didn't report it and take advantage of workplace procedures to make things better? So, that's the connection to the last post. Keep reading for more:


In Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 118 S. Ct. 2257 (1998), and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 118 S. Ct. 2275 (1998), the Supreme Court made clear that employers are subject to vicarious liability for unlawful harassment by supervisors (read: employers are liable for harassment done by/committed by others).

The standard of liability set forth in these decisions is premised on two principles: 1) an employer is responsible for the acts of its supervisors, and 2) employers should be encouraged to prevent harassment and employees should be encouraged to avoid or limit the harm from harassment.

In order to accommodate these principles, the Court held that an employer is always liable for a supervisor’s harassment if it culminates in a tangible employment action (e.g., termination, suspension, transfer, demotion, etc.). In order to avoid liability, the employer must show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any harassing behavior, and that the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.

While the Faragher and Ellerth decisions addressed sexual harassment, the Court’s analysis drew upon standards set forth in cases involving harassment on other protected bases. Moreover, the Commission has always taken the position that the same basic standards apply to all types of prohibited harassment. Thus, the standard of liability set forth in the decisions applies to all forms of unlawful harassment [including racially based harassment].

While the anti-discrimination statutes seek to remedy discrimination, their primary purpose is to prevent violations. The Supreme Court, in Faragher and Ellerth, relied on Commission guidance which has long advised employers to take all necessary steps to prevent harassment.

The question of liability arises only after there is a determination that unlawful harassment occurred. Harassment does not violate federal law unless it involves discriminatory treatment on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age of 40 or older, disability, or protected activity under the anti-discrimination statutes.

The anti-discrimination statutes are not a “general civility code.” Thus federal law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not “extremely serious.” Rather, the conduct must be “so objectively offensive as to alter the ‘conditions’ of the victim’s employment.” The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment culminated in a tangible employment action or was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. Existing Commission guidance on the standards for determining whether challenged conduct rises to the level of unlawful harassment remains in effect.

An employer is liable if it knew or should have known of the misconduct, unless it can show that it took immediate and appropriate corrective action.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/harassment.html

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"People Need To Speak Up!"

Our store is getting its 3rd Store Director in 3 years. It seems this job is the kiss of death. The store has gotten progressively worse because the 2nd Store Director really abused her authority and demoralized most of the staff. She was also guilty of retaliating against workers by pinpointing who she simply didn't like and openly talking about "running them out." Yes, many of them were fired. We're still living with her legacy.

Some of the younger workers were talking about the impending arrival of our new director, when one of them said, "People need to speak up. When this guy comes in and asks how things are, they need to tell the truth. If everyone sits there lying, nothing is going to get any better. They want to complain and complain, but when someone asks what's going on, they just smile and say every thing's fine."

Truer words were never spoken!

This is how it is, particularly in environments that might be hostile or, more specifically, racially hostile. The natural reaction is to try to make yourself invisible and hope people don't see you or attack you. You think that you'll come to work, mind your business, do what you have to do, and leave at the end of the day. But, if someone has other plans for you, like leaving a noose at your workstation, it kind of throws a monkey wrench in those plans.

Even if the problem isn't racial and it's just one of those demoralizing and poisonous environments that can be found at many a job, there's always a point when people can speak up and let someone know that what they are experiencing just doesn't feel good.

Now, speaking up isn't always a magic bullet. Some managers and higher-ups want to know there is an issue so they can investigate and decide if there's a larger problem (like under staffing and overworking staff or a manager that is disrespectful and incompetent). No matter what the problem is, it is always better to do your part and let someone know something is wrong.

It's not fair to complain if you aren't going to speak up. If you want to suffer in silence, you should do just that. Keep your mouth closed and your head down. But, if you want to run all over your workplace griping and complaining--even legitimately--then the least you can do is report that there's an issue.

It's even better if you could offer solutions or suggestions!!

What management does after that is up to them. Some may be responsible and others may choose to ignore what they're being told. But, you should give people the opportunity to do the right thing. Then you'll know how to proceed.

Do you want to pursue it? Do you want to go up the chain of command? Should you speak to HR or corporate? You can't figure this out until you try to fix it by speaking up.

Any investigator or lawyer worth their salt will ask you who you spoke to about your issue. If the answer is, "Nobody!," it will be hard to be taken seriously!! There can be no remedy if there isn't a problem. Now, you might argue that a problem is so obvious and pervasive that management had to have known it existed. This is true. But, why not take that argument away and have at least one conversation reporting any abuses and asking for things to get better?

As my coworker said, "People need to speak up!"

What's stopping you?

Monday, August 16, 2010

QUICK TIP - if your boss is your harasser, you can jump the chain of command. No one expects you to reason with someone violating federal & state laws!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

LEGAL BRIEF: Go Back to Africa!!

The Legal Brief gives everyone an idea of some of the types of cases that EEOC litigates, as well as an idea about the specific race-based issues that other Blacks have faced and challenged in the workplace. Readers may also gain insight into the arguments presented by EEOC and the defenses offered by employers. This information may be helpful to workers, who may be considering filing a complaint or seeking legal counsel, as well as to employees who feel they are becoming embroiled in race-related issues at work.

In this case, some of the Whites at this job seemed to have gone crazy using the n-word and all sorts of racial slurs.


Elmer W. Davis To Pay $1 Million To Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Roofing Company Charged with Racial Harassment, Discriminatory Job Assignments, and Failure to Promote African-American Employees

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Elmer W. Davis, Inc., the largest commercial roofing contractor in New York State and one of the top 40 largest commercial roofing contractors in the United States, will pay $1 million to African-American employees to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on August 10th. This is the largest EEOC settlement ever in Rochester.

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 07-CV-06434), filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester in 2007, charged that black employees at Elmer Davis were subjected to a pattern of race discrimination, including harassment, unfair work assignments, failure to be promoted, and retaliation for complaining about discrimination from at least 1993 through the present.

According to dozens of African-American employees, they were constantly subjected to racial slurs by their white foremen. Blacks were routinely referred to as “n----r,” “lazy n-----rs,” “sambo,” “slave,” and “monkey.” Foremen also frequently made comments like, “All n----rs should get on a boat and go back to Africa.” They were also exposed to nooses and racially offensive graffiti like “dirty n----r,” “KKK” and swastikas written on the walls of the portable toilets at work sites.

The lawsuit also charged the roofing company with subjecting African-American employees to disparate treatment in job assignments, claiming that it generally reserved the most difficult, dirty and less desirable jobs for black workers, including “tear off” and “hot tar” jobs, often referred to as the “bull work,” while whites were assigned to detail work and service trucks to conduct repairs.

African-American employees were routinely laid off first at the end of the roofing season and called back last in the beginning of the following season, while whites were laid off later and called back earlier.

The EEOC further charged that the company systematically excluded black employees from promotion opportunities, which it accomplished by using a subjective system of promotions without job announcements or an application process, and actively discouraging black employees from seeking promotions.

The EEOC alleged that Elmer Davis’s conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The case was investigated by the Buffalo Local Office of the EEOC before it proceeded to court.

Elmer Davis will be bound by a five-year consent decree which, in addition to the $1 Million monetary relief for the victims of discrimination, enjoins the company from engaging in further race discrimination or retaliation. The decree requires Elmer Davis to hire an EEO Coordinator to provide training, monitor race discrimination complaints, and report to the EEOC on hiring, layoff and promotion. The decree has been submitted to U. S. District Court Judge Siragusa for approval.

“This settlement marks the end of decades of ugly and unlawful discrimination against African-American employees at Elmer Davis,” said Spencer Lewis, district director for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “No employee should have to endure slurs and other harassment in order to do his job. The EEOC will remain vigilant to protect workers from these types of abuses.”

Trial Attorney Judith Biltekoff added, “This consent decree will not only right the wrongs perpetrated against the African-American employees at Elmer Davis, but also promote a race-neutral work environment for all employees going forward.”

The EEOC has a fact sheet on race discrimination available on its website at http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-race.html.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/8-10-10a.cfm

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Building Blocks Of a Promotion...

A friend of mine (Black) was a manager at our company. She went from having a diverse department of subordinates to being placed in a position where she only supervised Black junior level staff. This was not of her doing. The director of her department and our Human Resources manager simply began to make personnel decisions that resulted in all of the staff in this support division being African American.

Regardless of the racial makeup of her staff, this manager always pushed her subordinates to learn new skills and to increase their knowledge about their jobs. She conducted lunch-time trainings, brought in other staff to conduct informal trainings, and passed on information about other training opportunities. Whenever possible, she ensured that her subordinates performed some work that was typical of the work being performed in positions that were one grade higher than her subordinates.

By doing so, she took away the argument that her staff had not shown they were capable of performing higher levels of work and she made her staff more competitive for future promotion opportunities by improving their knowledge and skill sets.

Her approach to managing her staff wasn’t appreciated by our employers. In fact, during conversations about her encouraging staff to look into opportunities to advance, this Black manager was told, “You know, some people like to be in the same job for 20 years.” She was also told that she shouldn’t “push” her Black subordinates to want to excel or move up within the ranks of their department. Finally, she was told that the only reason these Black workers had any thoughts about being promoted was because she was putting the idea in their heads.

This manager was told to back off of encouraging her staff to excel and advance.

The manager’s response was that she would be negligent in her job as a manager if she didn’t train her staff, didn’t expose them to more advanced work, didn’t help them improve their knowledge of their job and field, and didn’t encourage them to seek advancement opportunities.

Although she was told that the ideas her subordinates had about promotions weren’t her problem, the legal decision in Bryson vs. Chicago State University supports her management style and the encouragement she provided her employees. The 1996 decision of the 7th Circuit court specifically reasoned:

“Depriving someone of the building blocks for…a promotion…is just as serious as depriving her of the job itself.”

If you are working in a job where you aren’t being provided with the basics that would lead to a promotion, you can legitimately raise serious concerns about the lack of opportunities and training at your job.

Don’t be afraid to express your desire to learn more about your job and to seek out future advancement opportunities. More employees than not want exactly the same thing—to be promoted, to receive significant pay raises, and to have a livelihood that their families can depend on.

If you are not getting access to those building blocks, speak to your supervisor and/or manager and let it be known that you have a desire to learn more. State that you would like to know about in-house and outside training opportunities and that you would like more exposure to different skills sets within your position. If you are not given reasonable answers regarding obtaining these basic building blocks, you should consider speaking to another authority within your department or to an HR representation.

It’s your career, so you should be proactive if you aren’t seeing the opportunities you want and are entitled to at work. Show initiative and find out what you need to do to get to the next levels of your career path. You are entitled to desire success! And, you are entitled to the workplace building blocks that will help you succeed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things NOT To Do...

If you're under attack at work, DON’T:

--Give your employer any ammunition to use against you

--Report to work late or leave early on a consistent basis

--Take leave (because of stress) during an important project

--Miss deadlines or cause deadlines to be missed

--Be unprofessional in behavior or language

--Forget to double-check your work for errors

--Take the bait (e.g., people will try to antagonize you to get an angry response that can be used against you later)

--Forget to document everything that's happening, including meetings with management, attacks, denial of work, harassment, etc.

--Keep your evidence at work where it can be found and destroyed

--Conduct Internet research on discrimination or harassment at work or do Internet searches for employment lawyers or on agencies like EEOC at work (most companies use tracking software)

--Don't threaten to sue for discrimiation or harassment. Let your lawyer announce that, if you actually proceed!

--Sign statements drafted by your employer admitting to any inappropriate behavior or admitting to falsified performance deficiencies

--Prepare and submit statements to HR or your supervisor under employer duress--they can't force you to write anything!

--Believe you can confide in all of your “trusted” coworkers/pals (people have agendas and may sell you out)

Monday, August 09, 2010

No post today. Check back tomorrow. Make it a positive day!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Really? Is This The Way We Should Speak at Work?

Every Black person has to decide whether or not—and how—they will incorporate the n-word into their life.

Ignore it as much as possible?

Embrace it as a term of endearment?

Attack those that would dare utter the word? What to do?

That’s a decision we each make in our personal lives.

But, I’ll tell you…

I can’t stand to hear Black workers throwing around the n-word in the WORKPLACE. Why? It bothers me because there is no reason to utter that word on your job. Even if you say the n-word in private situations, there isn’t a single excuse for using it at work. Period!

Only an absolutely ignorant and self-loathing Black person would toss around such a word in front of their White coworkers and members of management.

Unfortunately, nearly every time I’ve heard a Black person LOUDLY using the n-word in the workplace or referring to someone LOUDLY as their “ni**a,” the person was always under 30 years of age. And, every time the word was uttered it was clearly for show. It’s a very unfortunate way to try to get attention.

Yet, after a Black person says that word, you can just see how they are hoping to recieve a positive reaction from their coworkers. It’s almost as if flinging around the n-word makes them believe they will be seen as so-called keeping it real, being down-to-earth or being so-called “cool.”

When I’ve watched how Blacks respond to another Black person using the n-word, the reaction seems to be split between shock and eye-rolling at the person’s ignorance or maniacal laughing that the person was bold enough to say such a thing at work, especially in the presence of Whites—if that was the case.

When I’ve watched how Whites respond to a Black person using the n-word at work, the reaction has been split between seeing the person become visibly uncomfortable, changing the subject or pretending they didn’t hear the comment at all or maniacally laughing at the Black person making the comment. I state laughing “at” the Black person because a White person cannot laugh “with” a Black person, when the n-word is involved.

For those of us using the n-word at work, how do you think this behavior makes you appear to your White and other non-Black coworkers?

Do you think it increases the level of respect they have for you and other members of your race?

Do you think they will want to invite you to work on their projects because you uttered the word?

Do you think you’ll be next in line for a promotion or pay raise?

Do you care what others think about you flagrantly throwing around a word that is loaded with such historical venom as to be one of the most powerfully hurtful words in existence?

I MUST KNOW…what in God’s name do you think can be gained by using such an offensive word among your White coworkers? If someone is willing to admit to this behavior, please post a comment and let us all know why you choose to use the n-word at your place of employment?

Anyone with general thoughts on using the n-word at work, please post a comment.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It's ALL Your Fault...World Hunger, War, You Name It!

Racism can be overt in some places, but it’s normally covert at most companies in the nation. So, here’s something to think about, when it comes to a coworker or manager making accusations that you are guilty of some performance deficiency. When you are dealing with racists, in today’s society, very rarely will a coworker be dumb enough to come out and call you a nigger and very rarely will a manager be dumb enough to tell you that you aren’t being promoted because he/she refuses to put a Black person into a certain level job.

As a result, a racist manager like this will come up with other ways to justify denying a promotion to a Black worker. So, the manager will make up a laundry list of false and disingenuous reasons for the denial. The tactics to achieve this/the cap off the toothpaste might include:

--Blaming the Black worker for problems caused by other staff in the department;
--Accusing the Black worker of having a bad attitude or of being insubordinate;
--Stating the Black worker is not a team player; or
--Belittling the accomplishments of the Black worker.

The point is, they will make up some other complaint that hides what their real motivation is—racism! I like to compare this behavior to a couple that has moved in together only to find themselves at each other’s throats. He says the problem is that she leaves the cap of the toothpaste. She says the problem is that he leaves the toilet seat up. Neither of those is the real reason why the couple is at odds. Both of those reasons are simply excuses and cover stories to conceal an underlying problem.

Well, that’s how it is at work. Although you should always do everything in your power to avoid giving White workers and managers ammunition to use against you, remember that any incident or discussion can be twisted and manipulated to fulfill someone’s agenda. Something as simple as the proverbial cap being left off the toothpaste can be sold as if you damn near thrust your middle finger into the client’s face and knocked the person out of a chair!

In my case, I received a report from another office of our company. This report was time sensitive and required feedback from a couple of staff before it could go to our editors for copyediting. So, when I got the report, I emailed it to the other staff that needed to provide input. I included that I’d just received the report—hadn’t reviewed it yet—and asked if everyone could review it—quickly—and mark up a copy with any ADDITIONAL CONTENT that should be included. At that time, I would make a master document with ALL additions and any other changes (read: edits) for our editing team.

I was called into a meeting and criticized because the report, written by staff all senior to me, had a couple of typos in it (exactly 2 typos). I was told that I should have read the report and caught the typos before sending it to other staff for review. The Vice President of our office and her highly senior staff wrote the document and supposedly reviewed it. They were senior to those in my office and just wanted us to add any other thoughts or nuggets that could improve the whole report. Yet, the senior staff were not criticized for sending a report for review that was proofed, but still contained a couple of typos. I was told it was MY FAULT and that I wouldn’t be promoted because those are the sorts of things I should do, in order to work at the next level.

ONE WHITE WOMAN made the complaint about the two typos to my supervisor. She was a known racist in my department. She had a problem with at least 3 other Black women with brown or dark complexions. There were only about 6 Black women at the site out of about 150 employees.

So, my supervisor relays the complaint to me, telling me that I wasn’t going to be promoted, didn’t know how to multi-task, didn’t know how to prioritize my work, and that I didn’t set aside enough time to support this racist’s project.

Yes, ALL THAT from 2 friggin’ typos that came directly from a WHITE VP and her WHITE staff!! The power of White people making complaints against someone Black can have that much weight in some offices and at some companies. How do you extrapolate that many negative connotations from one stupid and petty complaint?

On top of all this, the logic at my company indicated that editors don’t catch typos. Yes, that’s what I was told. Editors are paid to catch typos and other errors, but they don’t. Now, if that logic is true and editors can’t or don’t catch typos, how much success will regular employees have in proofing documents? It’s just a dumb argument to try to use against someone. Professional editors can’t catch these things, but you’re being punished because you didn’t! On top of that, I never claimed to have read or edited the document. It was like, “Anything you want to add to this before it gets proofed?” How hard is that to understand?

Yet, I was told I wouldn’t get a promotion because the assumption was made that I was not going to review the document. And, that even if I did, and didn’t catch the typos—the editors also wouldn’t have caught the typos! I was told the clients would have received a report with typos in it and that it would have been my fault.


If you want to argue that all errors should be removed from a first draft before it can be reviewed by anyone else on a team, than you should send that report to your editors in order to catch EVERYTHING! Or, is the argument to quickly fix typos, but leave all grammatical errors and any other problems in place prior to review? That doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s clearly the expectation.

I was told that I should have fixed the typos and not worried about any other problems with the report. Again, HOW MUCH SENSE DOES THAT MAKE? Fix the typos, but leave any inconsistencies and logic errors alone? If it’s okay for review with errors, it’s okay for review with errors. I didn’t do anything that hadn’t been done many times before, when it comes to quick team reviews.

But, it’s the cap was left off the toothpaste argument! It’s the excuse to justify discrimination. After telling me I wouldn’t be promoted, the White coworker (who made the complaint about the typos) and who had outstanding complaints against her regarding her project management abilities (or lack thereof) and her poor communication style (causing problems in other departments) was promoted. There were no complaints like that against me, but I was told I couldn’t be promoted because of a couple of typos made by a Vice President and her senior staff in a NON-FINAL/NON-EDITED VERION OF A DOCUMENT. This is one of the issues I raised in my external complaint against and investigation of this employer.

So, regardless of an issue that is being presented as legitimate, it’s up to you to show that the arguments being used by your employer or manager are nothing more than a pretext to hide their true motives, which are racist, discriminatory and/or retaliatory in nature. You have to build a clichéd house of cards comprised of verifiable testimony (from coworkers or others that have witnessed your mistreatment) and physical evidence (email or other documentation) that can’t be refuted by your employer. Don't let someone use a petty argument to derail your career or to discriminate against you.

If a company decides to go after you, remember that every little thing will be blown up to the most extreme proportions and that you will be blamed for everyone's failures in life and you might even be blamed for a lack of world peace. Mentally prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with a bunch of b.s. and be prepared to fight back.
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