Moment of truth?

Sigh…

I do an awful lot of talking about equal rights and how important it is for people of all races, genders, sexual preferences, etc etc etc… to  have the same rights as everyone else. Maybe not on here so much as on my Facebook page and Twitter account.

But now I’m stuck and need to think things through. Need some input. Need some advice.

I found out that the company where a friend of mine works distributed $10 gift cards from Chik-fil-A in everyone’s pay envelopes on Friday.

It’s a small company, private, not one of which anyone has heard. So far.

Some people have said it was a tactless thing to do, but it was really just the closed-minded owner letting his opinion be known to all his employees.

I think it was two things much more sinister. First, I think it was not only an expression of the owner’s opinion, but also a statement saying “…and I expect you to show your support as well.”  As if no one at the company might have a differing opinion.

But more importantly, I think it was an intimidation tactic.  This is the owner of the company after all.  What can anyone do if they disagree? How can anyone who may be homosexual feel comfortable in this work environment? Who can they even talk to about this now? Most people don’t feel comfortable going to HR to talk about a senior executive, figuring the HR rep is just going to turn around and tell the execs anything that’s said anyway.

I told my friend he should give the card back to the guy and just say ‘no thanks.” He’s a vegetarian after all, he wasn’t going to use the card either way. But he had already given it away to another employee.

Which brings up another issue…now that these cards have been given out, it’s easier to see who does in fact agree with the stance Chik-fil-A has taken. This is just another way that some employees could feel intimidated within their work environment. The owner has essentially given them all the green light to discriminate against their fellow employees.

Like I said this is a small company, maybe 50 employees. I feel like they need to take a stand about this, but no one wants to stand up and risk losing their job. I guess that’s understandable, although I would never be able to work for a company with these views and I would have no qualms about suing them to within an inch of their life on my way out the door.

But I feel like, even if the employees are too scared to stand up against this, someone has to. the HRC needs to get involved. Maybe the ACLU. Certainly there are several branches of the federal and state government who could get involved to seek retribution for these employees.

This isn’t my fight, why do I care so much about this? Why does this bother me so much?

It reminds me of the fights I engage in every day for animals. They can’t speak for themselves, so someone needs to speak on their behalf. And in the now famous words of PETA’s ad campaign, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

I just don’t know what to do. If I keep my mouth shut, no one will ever be the wiser, and nothing will change.  But for a company this small, would it matter if I *did* speak up? It could put 50 people out of business. Is that better or worse than keeping 50 people working in an oppressed and discriminatory environment?

If these were kids who truly didn’t know any better and couldn’t speak up for themselves, I wouldn’t have a single hesitation about speaking up. But presumably these are all adults, who are electing to continue working at this company and choosing to not say anything publicly to call the owner out.

Is it really any of my business?

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4 Responses to Moment of truth?

  1. Dana says:

    I think it’s definitely a subtle intimidation tactic, but even those who disagree with that have to admit that it’s an inappropriate expression of a complex and controversial opinion that shouldn’t be stuffed into someone’s paystub. What would people think if a boss put condoms in everyone’s paystubs? Inappropriate. Whether or not there’s anything YOU can personally do… I don’t know. But I have an attorney friend who specializes in employment law and a friend who’s an HR director who I’m SURE will have some thoughts.

  2. Steph says:

    Wow. Just plain wrong. I’ve been in a company with maybe 50 people though, and it’s hard. Everyone knows everyone else. Plus, the economy isn’t that great, so people who DON’T feel comfortable can just go out & get another job. I’d be apt to just shut up about it & do my job. I wouldn’t personally like what the President of the company stood for.. but at least it’s a paycheck in this bad economy. (& that’s the sad truth) I feel exactly as you do about how inappropriate it was to stick them in the paycheck envelopes. I think I would have given mine to a homeless person.. so they can at least go get something to eat.

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