Everyone is crying out for jobs but no one is asking for employment justice. Today, people want to “occupy” Wall Street and streets in this city or that state but when the occupiers had jobs while others couldn’t dream about employment, the occupiers who are so vocal now were as quiet as a church mouse. Is there anything that you won’t do for a job?
If your employer tells you to help him cover up corporate misconduct, would you do it to keep a job? If your boss tells you to give false testimony in a court of law to keep your job, would you do that to keep a job? What if your employer tells you to change your hairstyle, take off your ethnic clothing or stay at work long after work hours and let your kids run wild alone in the streets, would you do it just to keep a job?
I once asked friends of mine who have two exceptional children about the current mindset of our youth. One child graduated from Georgia Tech and the other from Yale. The parents and I were talking about how history shows that oftentimes young people were the catalysts for many uprisings, revolutions and protests around the world.
I raised the question about why students and youth of today would rather play cards or video games than participate in any kind of protest. The parents answered that young people are the way that they are because, even though they see poverty, discrimination and other ills taking place right now, they keep quiet because they believe the things that are happening in the world are things that are not happening to them.
The same perspective is being taken in the job world. People who have jobs don’t care anything about their coworkers or about the unemployed.
In any private or government workplace misdirected or inappropriate events are always taking place. That is why big businesses and governments have “risk managers,” people who are paid to keep administrators, managers and company employees from getting sued.
The best way to keep workers from filing complaints and lawsuits is to talk to the employees.
All employees know that mistakes are made in the workplace. The mistakes could involve hiring, firing or both. Complaints usually occur when employees feel they have been ignored, disrespected or threatened.
But when workplace problems are affecting all workers, more often than not only one or two or three employees will say something about it. Nobody wanted to sit in the back of the bus, buy food out of the back door of the restaurant or drink out of the “coloreds only” water fountain but only one, two or a few rose up and protested about it. Only a few people will demand improved working conditions or employment opportunities. Other workers with personal knowledge of the misconduct or mismanagement or discrimination in the work place won’t say anything, in order to keep a job.
The next time you go to work, go into the restroom and take a long look in the mirror. If you want to make the workplace a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.
It is not the exploited farm worker who files a lot of complaints. It is not the domestic worker who is seeking to sue her employer and it is not the unionized worker who complains day in and day out about job benefits. It is the handkerchief head Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas who are big shots on the job who turn their heads when the little people are being oppressed and exploited while at work,
Don’t take my word for it. Call the NAACP, the SCLC or some other group with a history of trying to help workers and you’ll find that it is the bosses, so-called modern-day overseers and neocolonialists, who run
to advocate organizations when they are scolded, reprimanded, written up or fired even after they help their evil bosses fire other workers.
Workers, have more compassion for your colleagues in the workplace. The jobs you save when you speak up about worker, customer, client and patient mistreatment may be your own.
Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at allworldconsultants.net
Photo: Lucius Gantt