Corporate America & Tolerance

Promoting tolerance and diversity through fear and ineffective policies!

By JeffG

In most companies, employees are required to undergo some sort of diversity training and/or sign off on a diversity policy. I’ve had to do it several times in the last few years. Supposedly this promotes diversity and understanding. I’m all for promoting diversity. In theory, having a diversity policy is great. In practical application, however, it’s pretty much useless.

As you know if you’ve read our previous posts about corporate bullshit, the diversity policy at my previous job at a large corporation didn’t stop my wife and I from being discriminated against, nor stop me from being terminated unjustly due to personal bias and for arbitrary reasons. No, in that case the diversity policy was useless…because it was selectively applied.

See, diversity policies are rarely implemented properly. In fact, they create a false sense of cultural tolerance where there is none. The secret of corporate diversity policies is the same as with any policy in a corporation. It’s not about tolerance and understanding: It’s about cutting costs. Diversity policies are only put in place so that the company is not liable for discrimination lawsuits.

If a company was responsible for the bigots they employed, they would be liable to be sued for discrimination. Instead, companies employ weak diversity policies so that instead of getting sued, they can simply shuffle or fire the bigot in question. They wipe their hands clean of the incident and all culpability is removed. This policy does not promote diversity, it does not promote tolerance, and it helps nobody.

I was fired from a position because I married a black woman. It was never said in so many words. I was told that family members were not allowed to work in the same department. Even if you so much as live in the same household - barring family relation - you can’t work in the same department. I would have had no problem with this were it true.

The policy was an unofficial one, and up to department manager discretion, so prior to my marriage it had never been applied, at least to my knowledge. There was a mother and daughter working in the same department my wife and I worked. Later, after I was fired and my wife was still with the company, a lesbian couple were brought on to work in the department, only to be shuffled out a few months later when someone commented that “[my wife] would have a fit if she found out.”

At least the company didn’t come out of the debacle totally unscathed. The manager that used shady tactics to bring me back to the company (I’d left there of my own free will in the past), only to fire me when it was convenient was demoted. He knew my wife and I were together, and skirted policy anyway. The company couldn’t hire any couples and now they would have to stand by the precedent they’d set with us, lest they face a discrimination lawsuit. All because a white man and a black woman got married and a petty manager had a problem with it.

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