Coercion (noun): the use of express or implied threats of violence or reprisal (as discharge from employment) or other intimidating behavior that puts a person in immediate fear of the consequences in order to compel that person to act against his or her will – Merriam-Webster. It is a sad day when companies are actively discriminating against employees at the behest of an over-reaching government, while at the same time pushing narratives of inclusion and diversity. What is even more disappointing is the silence of so many who know it is wrong, but actively work to justify it in their minds. Just because something is currently legal does not make it right. Countless examples in history can reveal this truth.
Are companies signaling that they value government or customer contracts more than their people? If we had a glimpse into the investment accounts of executives and those who stay silent, what investments might we see? How much money are professional services company executives making from big pharma contracts? Is this really about our health? These are not accusations, they are simple questions that deserve answers. If the answers are benign, then they shouldn’t be hard to answer. If these questions make you uncomfortable, then maybe you should take a deep look inward.
*The views and opinions in this article are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer*
Why are executives allowing this discrimination and how will they spin it? When is the last time you heard a message of “inclusion” in the workplace? What could cause so many people to go along with something like this? Has anything like this ever happened in history and what was the outcome? These are questions we should all be asking ourselves. If you dare to be curious you will find the answers.
This is likely the last chance you will have to do the right thing. The truth will be made known and every individual will be accountable for their own decisions and actions (or lack thereof). This point in history will be examined for hundreds of years. Your great-grandchildren will ask your children what role you played as this unfolded. What will the answer be? That you stayed silent while others were oppressed so your children could go to private school and live in a big house?
My final thoughts are to share with you what I learned in my most recent ethics and integrity training. Our values were explained as follows: Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better. I will expand with excerpts on two of these as written:
Integrity – We do what is right
A person who exhibits Integrity…
- Has a moral compass that does not waver in any situation, big or small
- Is honest and forthright, even when it is difficult
- Is not a bystander; takes action in the moment to do what is right and Speak Up
Courage – We think and act boldly
A person who exhibits Courage…
- Openly questions actions inconsistent with our Values, even when it isn’t popular
- Has a bias for action and makes tough decisions
If you want to act and do not know how, it is simple. If you are in a leadership position, stand up for what is right and take a hard stance. If you are not the decision maker, bombard your company executives with emails, file formal complaints on the ethics and compliance hotlines, and speak up with courage. You will sleep very well at night and I believe that you will eventually be rewarded. But, no matter what, you will always know that you did the right thing.
*THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THAT OF MY EMPLOYER*