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How the Black Lives Matter Movement Will Affect HR Employee Investigations

Updated on August 15, 2016
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Coming to A Workplace Near You?

After Ferguson, Americans are demanding change in the criminal justice system. Will demands for social justice in the workplace be next?  Is HR ready?  Are you?
After Ferguson, Americans are demanding change in the criminal justice system. Will demands for social justice in the workplace be next? Is HR ready? Are you? | Source

Is HR Ready for This New Social Activism?

Welcome to post-Ferguson America, where now more than ever before people question firmly entrenched authorities.

They judge from the gut. They argue to upend technically lawful decisions and the entire systems that support them. They're not afraid to speak up, show up, and enlist like-minded others in their crusade for change.

November 2014 marked a 21st century turning point in America's consciousness on racism. This occurred after the unprosecuted shooting of 18-year-old African American Michael Brown by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protests and civil unrest quickly followed, and Black Lives Matter demonstrations spread beyond the St. Louis suburb to far-flung cities across America, including Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City.

Reader Weigh In

Do you support the demonstrations that have occurred since the Ferguson decision?

See results

Is Silence An Act Of Complicity?

The young woman's sign references a famous quote by humanitarian and political activist Elie Wiesel: "We must take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
The young woman's sign references a famous quote by humanitarian and political activist Elie Wiesel: "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." | Source
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

"Here, in [King's] own words, are the philosophy and strategy of nonviolent protest . . . King's persuasiveness comes through again and again." - The New York Times Book Review

 

Police Brutality Is Only One Concern

Protesters shouted:

  • "Hands up. Don't shoot,"
  • "I can't breathe," and
  • "Black lives matter."

Demonstrators of all races sat down, fell out in the streets, and hurled canned food, bottles, and rocks.

Complaining that silence is an act of complicity, they marched peacefully, stopped traffic, and defiantly stayed home on the biggest shopping day of the year.1 Students walked out of class and risked suspension.2 Athletes faced rebuke when they struck the now-famous hands-up pose for a national television audience.3

Have no doubt. Ferguson was a watershed event. Americans decided they were fed up and would have no more.

No matter how you feel personally about the demonstrations, odds are that this new social justice movement won't stop with concerns over police brutality.

Pressure Cooker Of Distrust

A simmering distrust had been churning below the surface for a long time. The events at Ferguson blew the lid off the pressure cooker of racial tension, and there will be no putting the contents back into this pot.
A simmering distrust had been churning below the surface for a long time. The events at Ferguson blew the lid off the pressure cooker of racial tension, and there will be no putting the contents back into this pot. | Source

Why Are HR Employee Investigations Important?

When companies are alerted to possible misconduct in the workplace they have the duty to investigate the dispute.

Even if the misconduct is reported as an informal complaint, the company is officially put on notice. Its response can be a factor in whether an employee files and wins a lawsuit.

Example investigation issues include alleged acts of discrimination and harassment, theft, fraud, or other violations of policy.

Racism and the Workplace: What To Expect As A Result of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Emboldened by the public support for civil rights, citizens will also begin to call for improvements to economic and social justice on the job. After all:

  • we spend one-third of our lives at work
  • employment opportunities tangibly separate the haves from the have nots, and
  • work fulfills a key social identity function. It gives valuable meaning to who we are are as people.

Here are five game-changing ways that Ferguson and its aftermath of racial consciousness and activism will impact HR employee investigations in tomorrow's workplace.

Will HR be ready? Will you?

Trying To Change the World: 5 Game Changers For HR

Protesters created traffic jams in Manhattan, D.C., Seattle, LA and other major cities.
Protesters created traffic jams in Manhattan, D.C., Seattle, LA and other major cities. | Source

Change #1 - Employees Will Demand More Transparent Decisions

Think about all the key decisions that you entrust to strangers when you decide to go to work for a company. You have simple faith that decisions involving hiring, promotion, pay, and firing will be nondiscriminatory and legally compliant.

Such employment choices are critical because they affect the trajectory of your career. They translate into money in your pocket, status, and whether you even have a job. For example:

  • Whether you're identified as "promotable," whether you are selected for a management training program, or whether you are even called for an interview ... these are someone else's decisions.
  • In the event of a layoff, the assessment method that separates those who still have a job from those who do not—this, too, involves someone's decision. Let's hope it was a fair and non-discriminatory one.
  • Think about pay, discipline, the opportunity for training, and issues surrounding your working conditions—for example, whether you'll get the time off you requested, and who gets assigned to what work space. You are at the mercy of decision makers.
  • And when you complain? Whether your viewpoint will be considered, who hears your complaint, and what they do about it (if anything) ... those are each someone's decision.

In post-Ferguson America, employees will look more closely at both the consistency and appropriateness of such decisions. And particularly when employees don't get their desired result, they'll expect explanations that are reasonable. (Of course, they may or may not take the time to listen to those explanations.)

Who Is Spinning the Truth?

Many decision makers provide explanations that "spin" the truth.  These interpretations of events are attempts to persuade.  In Post-Ferguson America, employees will demand more transparent decisions.
Many decision makers provide explanations that "spin" the truth. These interpretations of events are attempts to persuade. In Post-Ferguson America, employees will demand more transparent decisions. | Source

Reader Poll

How much do you trust Human Resources?

See results

Corporate Spinmeisters, Beware

For too long, HR and other decision makers have relied upon "spin" rather than plain-speak to present their decisions, and employees have allowed them to get by with it. Or HR decision makers have stonewalled employees with hollow explanations:

  • "It's a confidential matter" or
  • The decision was "consistent with the business needs of the Company."

And that was all that was offered. Sound familiar?

In post-Ferguson America, however, HR and managers will find that such empty answers won't be enough to satisfy employees hungry to understand why and how. It also won't be enough to be merely technically correct according to law and Company policy. If the decision doesn't have a straightforward explanation, then employees will be more prone to calling the Company out on it. Call if the "sniff test."

If a company requires a secret formula for a layoff, that's not transparent. If no one really understands how employees are identified as "promotable," then something truly stinks. It hasn't passed the sniff test.

And if middle and upper management is a vast wall of Caucasian masculinity, well ... sorry, but that's even more damning. (It's not always intentional. People select others like themselves and may have hidden biases they don't even know about. But that doesn't make it less harmful to those on the receiving end.)

When people feel unfairly treated over time, they may call for change to the entire system.
When people feel unfairly treated over time, they may call for change to the entire system. | Source

Change #2 - Employees Will Question the Entire Decision Making System

Companies should anticipate that their entire HR Investigation processes may come under scrutiny. As a result, outsourcing this key compliance function will become an increasingly popular option.

Here's why: When an employee complains to HR about a work issue, he or she expects to receive an impartial hearing and fair resolution. Although the HR investigator works for the company, he or she is supposed to be an unbiased trier of fact, a symbolic judge and jury—but often the detective, too. However, there is an inherent conflict of interest in HR's multiple roles which will increasingly become an issue in post-Ferguson America.

Employees will be more apt to voice their distrust in both the decision-making authorities and the entire process. Employees will want corroboration that HR investigators are

  • professionally trained
  • reflective of a variety of demographics, and
  • both neutral and ethically uncompromised by the fact of also being company employees.

Employees will want more participation in major decisions that impact them. They'll want evidence—metrics—that the system actually works. Companies will have to balance these demands with cost and efficiency. (They do have a business to run.)

Ultimately, it will be more cost-effective to outsource the HR Investigations role, and this will inspire greater employee confidence in the entire decision making system.

Tough Customer

Employees will be more likely to voice discontent with both authorities and the entire decision-making system.  They'll want evidence that systems are unbiased.
Employees will be more likely to voice discontent with both authorities and the entire decision-making system. They'll want evidence that systems are unbiased. | Source

Change #3 - Employees Will Increasingly Look At Interpersonal Treatment

Just as the nation has side-stepped a real conversation about race, so too have American companies. It's seen as too delicate, too potentially explosive a topic.

However, employers will need to be able to articulate where they stand on the issue of race and inclusiveness, and they'll have to be able to back up their words with consistent deeds.

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Research shows that fairness perceptions can influence how an employee will engage with the organization afterwards in terms of job satisfaction and commitment, absenteeism, turnover, sabotage, job performance, and performing voluntary work behaviors that help the company.

American Workers: Are We A Nation Of Malcontents?

According to Gallup, America is a nation of discontented workers, and it's costing the US $450-$550 billion a year.5

  • 30% American workers feel engaged about their work -- that is they feel passionate about it and connected to their company.
  • 52% American workers feel disengaged
  • 18% were actively disengaged. They went out of their way to undermine their colleagues.

With 70% of people feeling "checked out" at work, expect the new social activism to spread beyond the issue of race. People of all backgrounds will be looking for ways to improve the quality of their work lives.

Continuing to pretend that race is a non-issue won't work. Race is an important lens through which we each experience the world. All of us have blind spots in our perceptions of others, and simply pretending that these don't exist won't make that so.

Because personnel and workplace issues are especially complex, employees use all of the available evidence to detect whether they have been fairly treated. Much of that comes in the way of interpersonal treatment.

When people feel unfairly targeted by authorities, they withdraw their cooperation. Ferguson has unfortunately highlighted this issue.

In the post-Ferguson workplace, employees will increasingly look at the extent to which decision-making authorities treat them with respect and non-bias during the investigation. Does the investigator appear to have the employee's best interests at heart, or does s/he seem punitive? They'll look for evidence that they are valued members of the organization and that their perspective is considered.

These perceptions are the employee's truth. These perceptions matter. Or at least, they should. Research shows that fairness perceptions can influence how an employee will engage with the organization afterwards in terms of job satisfaction and commitment, absenteeism, turnover, sabotage, job performance, and performing voluntary work behaviors that help the company.

Power In Numbers, Attention With Theatrics

Demonstrations such as die-ins quickly get attention when they tie up traffic and prevent others from getting to work or when they shut businesses down.
Demonstrations such as die-ins quickly get attention when they tie up traffic and prevent others from getting to work or when they shut businesses down. | Source

Change #4 - Employees Will Use Sensationalism To Gain Attention

If you work in a quiet office where everyone gets along, count yourself lucky. Many people do not.

Just as the situation Ferguson, there are employee situations where reactions can quickly spiral out of control. And when people feel powerless and disenfranchised, they often resort to dramatic options to air their complaints:

  • confronting the CEO at a shareholder's meeting
  • sending a mass company email
  • posting a YouTube video or
  • circulating petitions.

As gossip spreads, facts become fuzzier ... sides are taken ... issues morph ... the situation snowballs out of control. As a result, a public relations crisis occurs as a result of an incident that could have been handled better (in-house) if either the company or the employee had reached out instead of shutting down.

In post-Ferguson America, HR will need to anticipate and prevent such problems through improved communication, giving special effort to identifying employee thought leaders and major issues. They'll also need to be quick responders, deescalating employee issues that have already erupted from growing out of control.

Employees who don't feel respectfully treated will look outside of the company for resolution, oftentimes with the help of an attorney.
Employees who don't feel respectfully treated will look outside of the company for resolution, oftentimes with the help of an attorney. | Source

As gossip spreads, facts become fuzzier ... sides are taken ... issues morph ... the situation snowballs out of control. As a result, a public relations crisis occurs as a result of an incident that could have been handled better (in-house) if either the company or the employee had reached out instead of shutting down.

— FlourishAnyway

Change #5 - Employees Will Mobilize More Outside Of the System

There is power in numbers, and the post-Ferguson protests demonstrate that people have found effective ways to mobilize outside of a system they feel is stacked against them.

Within an employment context, individuals certainly have the option to find other employment. However, post-Ferguson more employees will perceive that it's their duty to speak out and seek change in their own circles of influence. Thus they'll increasingly mobilize support by

  • joining forces with other employees in their workplace who have the same concerns (i.e., class action lawsuits)
  • complaining to government agencies in record numbers
  • enlisting support from powerful others, including elected officials, celebrities, and civil rights organizations and
  • airing their grievances through the media.

An Employee's Complaint Options Outside the Workplace

Complain to an external government agency
Enlist support from powerful others
Go public with the grievance
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or state Human Rights Board
NAACP
local media
Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) - for the many businesses that are federal contractors
one's elected officials (especially Congressional Black Caucus members)
social media
U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Urban League
picketing
If you believe you have been discriminated against, seek advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your state. There are time limits for filing complaints with government agencies.

The End Has Yet To Be Written

The chapter that was Ferguson is not yet complete. We don't know how this one fully plays out yet. But what we do know is that civil rights in America will never be the same.

We've seen a renewed energy, albeit an imperfect activism, sweeping the country. And just as Rosa Parks' defiance wasn't restricted to civil rights in transportation, today's Black Lives Matter marches won't be restricted to the allegations of police brutality. It will eventually expand to the workplace as people seek economic and social justice there.

Will you be ready?

History Is Still Being Written

We don't know yet how this chapter in American civil rights ends.  History is still being written.
We don't know yet how this chapter in American civil rights ends. History is still being written. | Source

Quotes Worth Reflecting Upon

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."

- Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

- Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist

"Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism."

- Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host

"It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home."

- Carl T. Rowan, American newspaper reporter

"Sadly, whites are rarely open to what black and brown folks have to say regarding their ongoing experiences with racist mistreatment. And we are especially reluctant to discuss what that mistreatment means for us as whites: namely that we end up with more and better opportunities as the flipside of discrimination."

- Tim Wise, American anti-racism activist and writer

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

- Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and Holocaust survivor

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do."

- Amelia Earhart, American aviator

Ponder who you are and what you shall become.
Ponder who you are and what you shall become. | Source

Notes

1CBS News. "Ferguson decision ignites protests in many cities." Last modified November 25, 2014. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ferguson-decision-ignites-protests-in-many-cities/.

2Liao, Shannon. "NYC High School Students Risk Suspension and Arrests to Protest Ferguson." The Epoch Times. Last modified December 1, 2014. http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1115649-new-york-city-high-school-students-walk-out-of-classes-in-protest-of-ferguson-decision/.

3Walters, John. "What Hands Up, Don't Shoot Really Says." Newsweek. Last modified December 2, 2014.http://www.newsweek.com/what-hands-dont-shoot-really-says-288685.

4Tyler, Tom R., and Steven L. Blader. Cooperation in Groups: Procedural Justice, Social Identity, and Behavioral Engagement. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press, 2000.

5CBS News. "Study: Most Americans unhappy at work." Last modified June 25, 2013. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-most-americans-unhappy-at-work/.

© 2014 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Gina - Thank you! Trump has really changed the dynamic.

    • ugagirl66 profile image

      Regina Harrison-Barton 2 months ago from South Carolina

      Sound article. Well written.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      poetryman6969 - I won't tell anyone!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 22 months ago

      If employers ever check out my Facebook I will never be hired again! I just did a post about National Pantless Day for instance. Photos of people in their panties riding the subway would look questionable to HR!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Suzanne - this is the issue that will not go away for a good reason. I think it's only the start.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas

      Timely and thorough treatment of a complex problem. Voted up, useful and interesting! :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Audrey - Thanks for reading and for commenting. I hope your weekend has been a good one!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Amen! This needs to happen!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Pawpawwrites - I agree. There's so much bitterness and noise and no one is listening to the other.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      It is a very complicated problem. In order to come up with a solution, we must have serious conversations.

      Sadly, we haven't even reached a point where we can have a serious conversation. In order to converse, we must first listen to the other person, and respond, rather than react. Sadly, there is very little listening and responding going on.....only talking, and reacting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Jaye - I agree with you. HR can reveal sides of humanity that can be sad, stressful, and disturbing. People don't check their baggage at the door; in fact, some of them unpack conflicts and issues and replicate their home lives, as dysfunctional as they might be. Have a happy and successful 2015 writing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Mel - I was enlightened regarding different treatment on a business trip which I took with a group of associates, some of whom were African American females. We were all dressed professionally. Out of the five of us, two of us were detained for "random" thorough checks of our carry-on baggage by the airlines before boarding. Guess which ones? True story. Thanks for stopping by.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I'm glad that I'm retired from a career in HR management. I enjoyed working in the HR field and believe I made a difference. However, writing--even with tight deadlines--is much less stressful.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I am more of a sideline cheerleader, mostly because my own busy work and family schedule leaves me little time to attend protests, but I hope my small voice here and in other writing venues makes a difference. Some of us are rock throwers, some of us are word throwers. Anyhow, even though I know that every African American that has ever been arrested is not a victim of racial injustice, the overall trend is that black people get arrested at a much higher rate for felonies and misdemeanors that white people such as myself get away with. I was no saint as a young man. My friends and I were frequently out causing mischief in the wee hours, and although we were sometimes pulled over and asked what we were up too, we were never arbitrarily harassed or detained. I can't imagine what it is like to be a young African American male, to be quite honest, but it must be frustrating. Great hub!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      tirelesstraveler - Yikes. I see enormous "learning opportunities" in the future for that start-up your friend works for -- especially if they are based in California or do business there. The people side of the business can't be an afterthought.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Had to come back. My friend was telling me about the start-up she works for. It is owned by people about 30. They know a ton about the tech industry they own, but nothing about HR. They out-source HR and don't really have a business plan. They don't have managers who have ever managed people. They spend money like its water. Curious situation. They make a lot of money.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Nell - Although in concept that would seem fair, there's certainly a lot of history that went into requiring demographic self-identification for affirmative action and equal opportunity in employment reasons. This is one thing that makes HR such a fascinating field.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Pro Shell - Ferguson is a different sociopolitical event in that it's not one isolated event but part of a string of high-profile cases and resultant public backlashes. No matter one feels personally about the particular cases, Post-Ferguson America is now one where race is more of a hot-button issue. Work is so critical to survival and I cannot imagine spillover effects long-term. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Living in England we watched what happened in Ferguson with a mixture of disbelief and disgust. So many things need to change. The one thing I have always said where it comes to work ethics is, why is it when we go for a job we are asked to fill in a form saying, name, gender, and race? if we want equality, then we should only show our CVs qualifications on paper, without saying who or what we are. That way the job will be given to the person most qualified, and only to be seen when that person starts work, great hub, and disturbing too, nell

    • Pro Shell profile image

      Pro Shell 2 years ago from Vereinigten Staaten

      Interesting perspective, I rarely consider the impact of current events in HR especially on the employment termination and retention decisions

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - Thanks for stopping by to read and say hello. Have a wonderful new year filled with success and happiness.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Flourish. A Happy New Year to you. What an interesting and thought provoking hub. The future looks scary! To me the bottom line is everyone needs to be treated fairly and with respect. The workplace is certainly not immune to racial issues and inequality. I still see this where I work and if I can see it then something is definitely wrong with the system. Great job with this hub and a healthy and happy 2015 to you and yours.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - That's one thing that concerns me, too. In a movement, without a dedication to nonviolence the message can lose credibility. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a wonderful new year!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Interesting hub and great insight to pointing out the future shockwaves from the Ferguson events. I am all for peaceful demonstrations, but when the protests turn violent, it really defeats the purpose of the demonstrations and causes more harm than good.

      Happy New Year, dear Flourish! May you continue to flourish in the new year and always.

      Peace and blessings

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Writer Fox - Thank you for your insights. I trust that through the confusion and hype people will see the issues more clearly. I appreciate the up vote and pin. Have a wonderful new year.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Genna - Thank you for your thoughtful response. People often don't do what they need to until forced by crises. And it's super awesome that you're an HR consultant. Have a prosperous and joyful new year.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Jo, What a strong, rousing comment! I so appreciate your thoughtful response. I wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2015.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      As someone who works in HR on a consulting basis, I was especially interested in this very well-written and revelatory article. It’s really quite surprising when organizations don’t listen when you try to counsel them on what HR really is and should mean. At least, not until it’s too late, and a situation develops where an employee seeks out a private attorney and a lawsuit becomes imminent. Inevitably, we get a phone call and hear, “Yeah, I know, we should have listened to you. We need to make some changes.” Have to or want to? There’s a huge difference. To quote a cliché: You have to walk the talk. Racism and other various forms of prejudice still exist -- whether certain corporations want to admit it or not. It is their very culture that is the heart of the problem. Excellent article.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I haven't read many details about this episode because I don't live in America now. But, I do trust the American people to perceive injustice and to rise up against it, even when their leaders don't. This is what made America great and continues to do so.

      Great article and thanks for the information.

      Voted up and pinned!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      A very important hub, comprehensive and revealing. I must say, although we also have institutional racism in our public and private institutions, the recent killings in the U.S. and particularly the lack of convictions have left me cold. Unless the good people get off the fence to make their voices heard, America will find itself sleepwalking into a racial war that no one wants. Your country have come too far since those ugly dark days before an unknown seamstress in Montgomery Alabama refused to give up her seat on the bus. I hope that the legacy of the unrest in Ferguson, is that the American people can work together for a better fairer system. As always, thought provoking and very astute.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      PegCole17 - Interestingly, by 2043, it is projected that Caucasians will comprise a minority in the US population. How this will impact civil rights laws and people's experiences will be compelling.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      CatherineGiordano - I checked out some of your blogs last night. Loved the visual and blackout poetry -- very creative. I'll read more.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Dipankar - Thank you for your comment and kudos. May your new year be filled with peace and prosperity.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Judy - Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Roberta - Selection is an important issue for those roles, as you point out. Thanks for stopping by.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Loads of food for thought here. Part of the issue that needs to be considered is what happens when women who are antagonistic towards men step into HR positions, as well as the racial equivalent, a black person who is antagonistic toward whites in an HR positions. (I currently have specific incidences from 2 different states in mind as I write this.) It isn't just that there are some white men who are antagonistic toward women or black. The same issues are a problem across the board. It isn't about gender or race, it's about the human heart's condition.

      http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/you-can-pray...

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I wrote a lot about the Trayvon Martin case in my newsprintpoetry2012 blog. Just search on Trayvon Martin. I write about political and social issues on my reviews of Bill Maher's shows. BillMaherRules(for real) and on the PremiumCableReviews when I review the Bill Maher show. These issues are often discussed on Bill Maher's shows. I report on the discussion and comment.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      "Continuing to pretend that race is a non-issue won't work. Race is an important lens through which we each experience the world."

      It's sad to see that racial tensions still exist after these many years of civil rights activism and evolved hiring practices. I started working in the sixties when tensions were extremely high and discrimination was rampant.

      The Ferguson protests are true examples of tensions that continue on both sides including the slogans of the protestors, "Black Lives Matter". From my standpoint "All Lives Matter". Imagine the consequences if the signs read "White Lives Matter". There exists inequality on all sides and you've pointed out the repercussions that are inevitable in the workplace going forward.

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      MLK was relevant then as he is now. A couple of centuries hasn't changed anything really. Employment opportunities and employee benefits need to encompass all irrespective of color or religious beliefs. Thanks for a fine article. Voted up.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Beautifully written Hub; absolutely terrifying in so many ways.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Catherine - You're the first one who said they've supported it from the sidelines somehow. I'm going to go check your profile to see if I can find your blog.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Investigators oftentimes are very dutiful, however it isn't unusual that executives attempt to co-opt the process and results, especially in high-stakes situations. Thanks for reading!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Iris - Thank you so much for your kind comments and for sharing. Hope your holiday was joyous.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      MsDora - It's unfortunately so much easier to hope the problem will just go away or just deny that it exists in the first place. Eventually that becomes impossible. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Linda - I appreciate your stopping by. Hope your Christmas was a joyful one.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      FitnezzJim - Sometimes emotions can take over and people stop listening. Thanks for reading.

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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I've had my own small business for 20 years. In fact, I don't think I have ever worked in a corporation that was large enough to have an hr department. I like how you have tied the Ferguson issue to the corporate world. Everything is connected. I haven't participated in a rally, but I have blogged about it. I hope that counts. Voted up.

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      It will be very interesting to see what happens in our country. I've always wondered about the inherent conflict of interest in internal HR investigations. Too bad there's not another way.

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      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      This is so well written. It is excellent. I read every word. Voted up, interesting, useful, etc. and I'm sharing! You elevated the conversation for sure.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sha - Like workplace issues involving race, those that concerning age-based concerns are certainly gaining traction as the population ages. The key question is whether we'll continue to tolerate such convenient treatment. Thanks for reading. Hope your holiday was a good one!

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      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I like the Carl T. Rowan quote. His observation is likely to be more true now if people get scared and try to avoid these kinds of confrontation in the workplace. I appreciate the depth of this article; these are important issues that deserve attention.

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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting and thought provoking hub about an important topic, Flourish. I can see that you have thought very carefully about the consequences of the sad incident in Ferguson. Thank you for sharing your conclusions.

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      FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      When I read your lines “They judge from the gut. They argue to upend technically lawful decisions and the entire systems that support them. They're not afraid to speak up, show up, and enlist like-minded others in their crusade for change.” I thought ‘mob rule’.

      It is an unwritten principle of mob rule that he who shouts the loudest makes the rules.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Flourish, transparency and equality in the workplace is something that should be put into practice as a courtesy to the human beings that make up the team. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. And it goes beyond race. I've seen most all the key members of the company I used to work for leave. Some were 'laid off' and others were 'pushed to quit or retire' through sudden unfair treatment or micro-managing. Oddly enough, most - if not all - those key members are over the age of 50. Kinda suspicious, don't you think?

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Frank - Yes indeed. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you had a great holiday.

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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Justice in the workplace.. justice in society it depends on whose view.. my opinion only.. but it's going to be rough waters ahead my friend Flourish anyway... great question provoking hub .. :)

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Efficient Admin - Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      MartieCoetser - Very interesting. The CCMA seems to be a cross between our NLRB and EEOC. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate against employees and applicants on the basis of race and color, however many complain that racism has become more subtle, gone "underground."

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Heidi - Well said. I appreciate your comment and kudos. Have a Merry Christmas.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Stevarino - Thanks for reading! Have a Merry Christmas!

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      The emphasis on consistency and appropriateness is going to be oh so important in the years ahead. In my opinion, the rise of social media will make this even more necessary. Recruiting informed and enlightened HR and legal counsel should be a top priority for administrators these days. Knowing what action is appropriate and legal when situations arise can certainly help keep things from escalating out of control. Thanks for being brave enough to address the issue. Peace!

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      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Very interesting information and sharing of your thoughts, flourish!

      If I am not mistaking, South Africa is already in a post-Ferguson stage. We have a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) - a dispute resolution body established in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 ... - http://www.ccma.org.za/

      I must add, however, that while discrimination against blacks was the order of the day until 1994, it has been reversed - something that will not happen in the USA where whites are not the minority.

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      Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I have personally witnessed clanish and clicky higher management who only moved into these higher positions through attrition, only to turn around and hire their buddies and none of them are leaders or really qualified and the employees are scratching their heads wondering how are they still here? They have no regard whatsoever about the employees who actually do all the work. Anything that will improve the work environment for all workers across the USA is a good thing. This is a very thought provoking hub, thanks for sharing. Voted up and across.

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      Steve Dowell 2 years ago from East Central Indiana

      Very enlightening, thanks!

      About the Frankl quote, I just read "Man's Search for Meaning" not long ago - very inspirational!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Shasta - Thank you for reading, voting, and sharing. Happy Holidays!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - Thanks for reading. We are in the middle of interesting times indeed. Have a Merry Christmas yourself and thanks for reading.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will always support protests and demonstrations, but only if they are peaceful. A great look at the future here, my friend.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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      Shasta Matova 2 years ago from USA

      Wow. I hadn't thought about the long-term impacts of Ferguson especially regarding the workplace, but I do hope that it does help all people finally get the equal pay and fair treatment that they deserve. You have laid out your points beautifully. Votes up across the board and shared.