You May Be Kidding, But I’m Not

This is the second post about Magnus’ unfortunate experience with the nasty mock juror who was sent home after he threatened one of my employees. Sadly, this sort of thing has happened before. Sadder still, I expect it to happen again some day. In every instance Magnus has had in which a mock juror threatens and/or insults one of my employees, the perpetrator has been an older, non Hispanic, white man and the target of the threat has been a younger, non Hispanic, black man. Is this a pattern or merely a coincidence? Whatever it is, I have zero tolerance for this type of abuse on the part of anyone, regardless if they are a client, a mock juror, an employee, a friend, or a family member. Zero tolerance. In this most recent instance, the man who threatened to beat up my employee, when confronted by me about it, tried to cover up what happened by saying “I was only kidding.” My quick response was, “You may have been kidding, but I’m not. You need to leave, NOW.” Racial discrimination, bullying, or whatever one wants to name this type of verbal abuse will not be ignored. Although we always have to pay the abusive creeps when they are sent home early, we do not have to subject ourselves, not to mention our clients and the other mock jurors (who are always relieved when the bully is sent home), to this sort of toxicity. Other people may believe I am over protective of my employees, or I over react to racial slurs and threats of bodily harm, but luckily for me, I only have to answer to myself. I have always done what I consider the right thing and, in every instance when one of my employees has been threatened, the employee has repeatedly thanked me for not “looking the other way” like many people do when they witness an injustice. I’m not kidding.

Racial discrimination, bullying, or other abuses are certainly not something to kid about.  More than ever, this is true and employers must be vigilant in ensuring that zero tolerance is the only option.  Within an employer’s environment there are probably different ways of handling these issues, but our environment is unique.  We have to “have the backs” of our employees relative to these issues.  But the uniqueness of our environment makes this multidimensional because we are dealing with research participants/mock jurors of whom we have no prior knowledge.  We have never met them until they show up for a project.  If they “act out,” it is our duty as employers to not allow bad behaviors toward our team, our clients, or the other participants.  With regard to our team members, they have to know that we will look out for them because they should never feel they have to “take” the abuse for the team.  We have had clients who were abusive toward our staff, and us.  We have lost countless thousands of dollars in standing up to these bullies.  But, not doing so would have had its own costs.  Certainly, we’ve consulted on cases involving hostile work places. As a result, we know the costs of overlooking bad behaviors.  In our multidimensional world, another concern has always been employees abusing other employees.  When the cats (us) are around, I don’t think this has ever been an issue.  Unfortunately, we know of one incident in which one employee was verbally abusive toward another, younger, employee.  The younger employee only revealed this after the other employee resigned (in a very dramatic manner).  And, then there is another dimension, watching out for any signs that clients are sexually harassing or being suggestive toward our employees.  Though I do not recall any such incidents, it is something to be mindful of because Melissa knows how real a threat this can be.  She experienced it first hand at a prior company and had to report it to her supervisor who handled it.  Running a business is difficult for many reasons.  The responsibilities are many, and involve many things about which there can be no kidding!

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