When Ignorance is Not an Excuse for Bad Behavior


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In most workplace environments of any size you will find an employee that just seems to do and say things that the rest of us chock up as bad behavior. Things that can range from mildly offensive, to terminate their employment type of offensives. But what would you do if you found yourself working for a company where everyone on the senior management team seems to be clueless? It’s bad behavior run amok and getting worse each day.

I’ve been wrestling with a situation and company that seems to be infected with foot in their mouth disease. Everything that is said is blindly offensive to a number of what we in the HR world like to call protected classes. I listened to a former employee for over 3 hours who kept detailed notes of his 6 month tenure and was flabbergasted at the level of cluelessness among these players and that they are doing anything wrong. Even when caught, they dig a deeper ditch for themselves trying to explain their previous transgressions as normal.

At the top is a CEO who appears empathetic, and promises to get things worked out, and then does nothing. His leadership style is wait and see, and lacks the will for any kind of confrontation. And in private, he is known as the biggest closet bigot in the company, and he is a minority himself. One lone individual at the C level acts like a well-informed adult with professional behaviors. He sees everything that is going on, but realizes he is only one against the crowd. Rather than affect change, he is seeking new employment.

For those of you that have been reading my blogs for the past several years are probably asking yourself by now where the head of HR is and what are they doing to change things? Sadly, they are grossly incompetent, and often join in the bad behavior. In fact they act as the group leader of the internal gossip club making things worse. While a strong HR Leader would be challenged to turn this management team around, at least a freckle of awareness could be achieved.

This story doesn’t have an ending yet. An attorney has been retained, and an older EEOC complaint that was withdrawn has been reinstated and will be broadened. Things are going to get ugly and costly. I’m perplexed as to whether I should insert myself or stay back and be a spectator.  For those that are thinking that the board should get involved you are correct. In a normal world yes, but this is a puppet board, and every employee is told that management has them wrapped. Say anything to the board and you will get fired. So, now what?

Thoughts?…………….

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