No worker should have to endure a discriminatory work environment. It can be easy to assume the issue rests with one problematic person, but the fact is that many workplaces in New York can foster an environment of tolerance for discrimination or even display blatant discrimination.
One example is the recent development in an age discrimination case involving IBM.
Coming from the top down
In the latest lawsuit, IBM faces allegations of widespread, deep-rooted discrimination against workers over the age of 40. Evidence of this comes in the form of emails from executives calling older workers “dinobabies.” Another executive stated that workers who were not “digital natives” posed a threat to the company.
These revelations demonstrate how the company’s leadership views their workforce. Although IBM claims that it never “separated” employees from the company because of their age, the leaked emails, including an email that specifically made reference to a “dated maternal workforce,” tell a different story. In situations where highly-ranked leaders at a company display or allow preference for younger workers, the message that ageism is tolerated can spread down the ranks.
Protecting yourself against systemic discrimination
Discrimination is less likely to occur in companies where employees are able to speak out about wrongdoing and employers take those reports seriously.
However, when discrimination is pervasive at a company, it can seem impossible to protect yourself or make any difference. Sadly, parties who do not speak out and report misconduct could pay the price through a wrongful termination, a hostile work environment, or lost employment opportunities.
Employees have rights that are worth protecting. Rather than normalize discrimination or accept that it is all just a part of the job or industry, employees can pursue legal action to protect their rights and those of others who may be having the same experience.