This blog was originally written on my aCOMMENTary blog November 24, 2016.
Policing employees’ performance is one thing that most companies do well. However, being the corporate watchdog is quite a different conundrum. At what point do company code of ethics cross over into personal behavior at work. In some areas it is natural for organizations to provide guidelines for its employees behaviors at work, while quite a hotbed of varying opinions when it comes to what employees do on their own time.I broached the subject when posting on my main blog TheOptioneerJM where I began a discussion on how whistle blowers are treated within organizations. What bothered me to the core is how an organization reacts to a whistle blower says a ton about their culture. Meaning, you can have policies, guidelines, codes of ethics and beyond, but they become meaningless when managers or employees take it a step too far.In my example, with anonymity caveats all over the place, it appeared that an employee who blew the whistle on one manager’s harassing behavior, to only end up being pegged a “trouble maker” by immediate management. Or being subject of bullying by colleagues, promoted, endorsed, supported, investigated, documented with a black mark on personal profile within a company and doomed career opportunities.
A safe haven
I caught a short segment on Dr. OZ with Megyn Kelly earlier in the week and it resounded with me because of the train of thought I exuded by helping this individual get the story out. My indignity at the person’s poor treatment by their company was what got my keys clicking and clacking.
To Megyn’s question to anyone paying attention: is your company providing a safe haven for its employees? When it comes to any form of harassment, it becomes a great deal more complicated when every form of bullying or social expression requires an encyclopedia or book og guidelines. But the question is direct and clear: how do you treat your employees? This is a loud commentary on how safe is your work environment for its employees?
Ethics and codes
I haven’t been party to formulating a corporate code of conduct or ethical guide, I should add. However, I’ve certainly signed off many times in my career. I opinionate and conclude that even the best intentions go haywire.
Beliefs and values
Most organizations are intricate in detail on how employees conduct themselves on site, off hours and online seem to be muddled. Yet the core responsibility, in my opinion, lies with a company providing a safe environment to which they owe employees who work for them.
The subject matters are varied and how companies react are the most telling by whether poor treatment, controversial subjects become viral social commentaries, opinions and sharing.
Fine lines merge
What happens when employees’ behavior crosses between what they do while at work and what they do with their own private lives? It is becoming a challenge I’m sure, to determine when an employee’s corporate responsibility stops and starts now that it has become easier to express oneself through social means, blogging and posting. What a mess?
Affairs, cheating, harassment
What is the difference? Companies do protect their employees to a great extent on sexual harassment. However, there are other areas that cross personal values and beliefs that seem to be grey.
In the workplace, having a mean boss has been around for years. Think Scrooge’s treatment of his dedicated long-term employee, Bob Cratchit. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim as depicted in the 1870s by Fred Barnard
First appearanceA Christmas Carol 1843Created by Charles Dickens
Robert “Bob” Cratchit is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol. The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit has come to symbolize poor working conditions, especially long working hours.
According to a comment by his wife, Cratchit works for 15 shillings a week at a rate of three pence (“thruppence”) an hour for 60 hours per week. Until the decimalization of the British Pound in 1971, one shilling was twelve pence. Thus, fifteen shillings is 180 pence. It would take 60 hours to earn 180 at a rate of three pence per hour. In terms of 2015 purchasing power, this would be approximately £63.00 or about $94 US per week.
Imagine the outcry if Cratchit were to find an empathetic media outlet to tell his story today: without a doubt, to me anyhow, it would create a storm of viral fuel, diagnosed, discussed, dissected and opinionated for sure. (Remember public outcry over an employee’s challenge to her company CEO’s treatment of her? On MEDIUM).
Yet, the bullying part of Scrooge’s treatment of Cratchit is more accepted than most of us would be willing to admit.
Perhaps there IS a fine line between harassment and bullying after all. Remove “sexual” it becomes more normalized and less controversial today. Why is that?
Work affairs and cheating
Is an area that is vague and a cesspool that most companies stay far removed from. It is tempting to try to police employees conduct outside the work place and many do so with guidelines, policies and disciplinary measures when it comes to those who struggle with addiction, blast their boss or company in their private time through self-expression on social media.
That may be because the company’s intent is to protect its reputation, brand and shareholder value, which can deteriorate the financial health of the organization. Or most would demonstrate that they find it a risk.
But what about the company’s responsibility for providing a safe working environment for its employees? Definitely, there are growing best practices on Emergency Response, and even rehearsals in real time on a terrorist threat. That is a physical example of providing a safe workplace. But what about emotional well being?
Most allow staff to honor their religious beliefs in most places, by allowing the wearing of turbans or hijab as demonstrative of their faith. That is, unless it is a police department or situation where policies adapt to interpretation of safety.
For instance, in Canada, there have been stories where RCMP were originally prevented from wearing a turban instead of the traditional uniform that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are identified by. Another instance, was when then Prime Minister of Canada became embroiled in controversy when he tried to mandate that women remove their hijab during Canadian citizenship swearing in ceremonies.
For every seed of controversy remains a grain of belief in these scenarios.
So how many religions, ethical guidelines, or values say it is okay to cheat on your spouse? We know there are bigamy societies that allow it (reference this week’s story on young Canadian girls being migrated to the US to become young brides).
Yet, if you ask most reasonable people, who hold themselves accountable for their own behavior, place the blame on their own shoulders if they were to lapse to poor judgement, that agree that cheating on your spouse is simply not okay.
Unless you’ve been the victim of such affairs, it is difficult to relate to the destruction that it can cause. Yet on the balance beam of right and wrong, it leans far over to the wrong. Very few people would agree that it is permissible and allowed under the sanctimony of marriage vows. And that is not a religious statement. It is a value statement.
Both my now husband and myself were subjects of spouses who cheated on us with someone they work with. We both would agree how emotionally destructive that it was to all involved. In both situations, it was handled differently by the employers where the matter happened.
Gender is not specific here. It is caused and can happen to either gender of spouse: husband or wife. Yet the downward spiral that it causes does spill over to the work environment, destroys families, splits apart children who, if given the choice, would not have to be forced to make a choice between either parent.
It can cause a tailspin of gossip and distract a great many people. Yet it is something that few companies want to approach: should cheaters at work get an automatic pass? But what about creating a safe, value-based, environment for work?
I suppose it won’t be forced into discussion until a strong journalist, with quality beliefs and convictions that the behavior is wrong, writes or talks about it on the media.
Granted, we are not stuck in the 50s where home means mom stays at home to make the bacon while dad goes to work to bring home the bacon. The roles have blurred and merged.
I just don’t believe that allowing an atmosphere of cheating should be continued. Like Megyn said so well: it is your company’s responsibility to provide you with an encouraging atmosphere (bully and harassment free) and value driven culture (where cheating is added to the behavior that is not condoned or ignored). But, most of all, safe.
What do you think?
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ABOUT THE HIJAB (Source: Arabs in America)
Women > Veiling > What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?
Hijab is referred to by various names, some of the most common of which are a veil or a headscarf. Most Muslims who wear the covering call it a hijab (حجاب), an Arabic word meaning “cover.” However, there are various forms of hijab that are referred to by different names. While hijab is commonly associated with women, Muslim men also sometimes wear a head covering as a means of showing modesty. Additionally, Christian and Jewish women in some traditions wear a headscarf as a cultural practice or commitment to modesty or piety.
Find out more about the History of the Hijab.
What are the various kind of hijab?
Image by Kalashe
Hijab ( حجاب): The first type of hijab that is most commonly worn by women in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck, but leaves the face clear. This form of hijab is most commonly referred to as hijab.
Shayla: The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf that is wrapped loosely around the head and tucked or pinned at the shoulders. Like the hijab and al-amira, this form of hijab covers the head but often leaves the neck and face clear.
Khimar ( خمار): The khimar is a long, cape-like scarf that is wrapped around the head and hangs to the middle of the back. This type of hijab covers the head, neck, and shoulders, but leaves the face clear.
Chador ( تشادر): The chador is a long cloak that covers a woman’s entire body. Like the khimar, the chador wraps around the head, but instead of hanging just to the middle of back, the chador drapes to a woman’s feet.
Niqāb ( نقاب): The niqab is a face-covering that covers the mouth and nose, but leaves the eyes clear. It is worn with an accompanying khimar or other form of head scarf.
Burqa ( برقع ): The burqa covers the entire face and body, leaving a small mesh screen through which the woman can see through.
Why do women wear hijab?
Muslim women choose to wear the hijab or other coverings for a variety of reasons. Some women wear the hijab because they believe that God has instructed women to wear it as a means of fulfilling His commandment for modesty. For these women, wearing hijab is a personal choice that is made after puberty and is intended to reflect one’s personal devotion to God. In many cases, the wearing of a headscarf is often accompanied by the wearing of loose-fitting, non-revealing clothing, also referred to as hijab.
While some Muslim women do not perceive the hijab to be obligatory to their faith, other Muslim women wear the hijab as a means of visibly expressing their Muslim identity (Haddad, et al, 2006). In the United States, particularly since 9/11, the hijab is perceived to be synonymous with Islam. Some Muslim women choose to appropriate this stereotype and wear the hijab to declare their Islamic identity and provide witness of their faith. Unfortunately this association has also occasionally resulted in the violent assaults of Muslim women wearing hijab.
While most Muslim women wear the hijab for religious reasons, there are other Arab or Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab as an expression of their cultural identity. By wearing the hijab, Muslim women hope to communicate their political and social alliance with their country of origin and challenge the prejudice of Western discourses towards the Arabic-speaking world (Zayzafoon, 2005). In many cases, the wearing of the hijab is also used to challenge Western feminist discourses which present hijab-wearing women as oppressed or silenced.
The writer of this article is neither naming nor alluding to the guilt of any particular organization, company or corporation. It is solely an opinion and discussion launched by writing. It is not an endorsement of any traits or expression of acceptance about the subject reflected upon herein.