There is so much discrimination in this world, let’s not add another in our workplace. A place where we work 9 hours a day, where equality should exist and promotions and opportunities should be presented to anyone because of his capabilities, not skin colour, not gender and definitely not sexual preference.
Tom (he prefers to be anonymous) is a wonderful guy, a good friend of mine and he is gay. He is very kind, witty and one of the rare few people I know that generously volunteered his time at old folks home on weekends and holidays. He is the first one to show up at your home with a hot chicken soup if he knows you are down with the flu. He loves children and as much as he knows he is fighting the near impossible, he carries hope that one day he will be able to adopt one with his partner of 17 years.
At work, he is among the few that is last to leave the office. Sometimes, he comes back to the office during his off days to bring snacks for his colleagues. He is funny and never fail to throw in a joke or two to diffuse a heated debate. Hardworking and dedicated to his work, he never let anyone else pick up his slack. You could have thought he is popular among his coworkers but sadly, no. The moment he felt safe, he let his guard down and someone who knew him personally, accidentally outed him.
Tom thought to himself, ‘No big deal. I’m still the same old Tom.’
People at work begin to avoid taking to him. Some extremists even avoid walking the same path as him or avoid using the same toilet, exiting meeting rooms upon his arrival. Some of his colleagues accepted him and stood up for him. But people are uncomfortable and begin to ostracise him and complain to HR. There are even small minded requests to HR to transfer him out of the department.
Nobody ate his snacks anymore.
His manager, amid the pressure, caved in and transfer him from an IT analyst to the mailroom. His pay package and benefits remain unchanged but he lost his spirit and left eventually.
Shunned by his family, his country and now his coworkers, he almost took his life if not for a close knitted bunch of friends who supported him. It is a sad story, it could’ve been even sadder if a life is lost. Discrimination in a workplace where it is supposed to be safe is intolerable. His work ability has nothing to do with whatever he chose to do behind closed doors in his personal life.
My friends asked if the tables turn to me, if I am his manager, what would I have done. I’ll make sure that he is not discriminated, he gets his equal chances just like everyone else and pointed out to everyone that if anyone discriminated Tom, I can judge them too!
Because everyone is different from me, everyone is different from everybody and if by being different equals to be being judged harshly, everyone should discriminate each other and themselves.
Stop grouping together and attacking the minority.
Someone asked a personal question. What if Tom is my child? To that I reply, no matter what or who he is, I carried him for 9 months, I love him all the same.
I know this is a sensitive topic but I’m curious, what will be your answer? If you are the manager, what will you have done? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.