Oh My God…
When I arrived at work this morning, I had a brief conversation with a coworker I will call Annie; I like her very much and we have a good relationship. We usually talk about family, work, grandkids. You know, innocuous and non-threatening subjects.
Well, Annie asked me if I had seen the results of the Senatorial election in Massachusetts. I acknowledged that I had. Annie was ecstatic Scott Brown had won and began making negative remarks about President Obama which were not offensive — until — until the following spilled out of her mouth…
He should be lynched!
I was stunned! Annie must have seen the look on my face, watching as my mouth dropped to the floor, because she then began to ask me if supported President Obama. However, I quickly stopped her in mid-sentence and politely told her I did not like to discuss politics or religion at work. Regardless of my office etiquette, I guess I should not have been overly shocked by her comment either.
Since I have been sans car for the last three weeks, Annie has given me a lift home on numerous occasions, and I am extremely greatful for her willingness to do so. Nevertheless, it amazes me how riding in someone’s car gives clues into her personality and character. So when I noticed the local AM radio station she tunes to, I had such a “light bulb” moment even Thomas Edison would have been proud.
I will give you three guesses whose program airs daily on 610/WTVN in Columbus, OH, and the first two guesses do not count. That is right, you guessed it!! Drum roll please!! None other than the piggy, bigoted, hateful, devisive, cigar-smoking, loud-mouthed white man himself…Lush Rumball’s!
This is the cunundrum:
The Code of Conduct for our company is precise, very well-defined, and leaves no room for feigning stupid; it is all there in black and white (no pun intended), with nothing gray in between. In the Fall of each year, every employee in the company is required to recommit to The Code of Conduct, participate in a webinar, pass a test and sign a statement of acceptance. The documentation is entered into our personnel records.
IMO, Annie’s comment was a huge policy violation. Oh, and did I mention this person is a Sr. Manager — an employee who should know better?
Another stipulation in The Code of Conduct is that any employee who witnesses a violation is obligated to report it, regardless of what it is. Which brings me here.
What about the First Amendment and our right to freedom of expression?
Do I or do I not report her racist comment as a violation of The Code of Conduct? This is not a rhetorical question, it is a very real question of ethical and moral responsibility to myself, my company, my country, each of you, and last but not least, President Barack Obama.
I know what I should do, but should I do it?