Organizational Lessons from the LA Clipper’s Owner’s Comments

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling alleged racist’s comments have dominated the news last couple of days.  In case you are unaware, a tape was leaked that contained an alleged conversation between Mr. Sterling and his girlfriend (it should be noted the Mr. Sterling denies that he is the voice represented on the tape,) where he allegedly makes racist comments regarding African-Americans, including NBA legend Magic Johnson.  The NBA has begun an investigation, and the results of that investigation will be released soon.

While watching this play out over the weekend, some quick takeaways for organizations emerged, including:

  • We are all pretending not to know something!  Many people are outraged by Mr. Sterling’s comments, but many are not surprised.  His past is littered with incidents that have many asking, “What did he do now?”  Many organizations have individuals who pay lip service to equality, diversity, and inclusion – and everyone knows who they are!  They sit in C-suites, on boards, and in various levels of leadership.  The strategy is to confine them a small area of responsibility and try to keep them from doing too much damage.  However, like Mr. Sterling, they will always find a way to gain public attention.
  • Your Mic is Always On!  We all have opinions, thoughts, and prejudices!  However, never think that sharing those things in private means they will stay private.  In a time where everyone has a camera phone, with a voice recorder, be advised, that privacy is a thing of the past.  If you do not want it repeated, do not say it!  Organizations must ensure employees and leadership understand that when they speak, it may be hard for the listener to separate their comments from the organization.
  •  Racism and discrimination still exist!   Despite what the Supreme Court would have one believe, racism and discrimination still exist in society and the corporate world.  Some have become savvier in hiding their true feelings and intentions, but it is bubbling just beneath the surface.  Organizations must be attuned to the workplace climate to detect where discord and inequality are festering.  Communication channels must be free flowing so information can reach the top, middle, and bottom.  Falsely believing that everyone’s world is like that of those in the C-suite is a delusion, at best.
  • Teaching is repeating until learning takes place!  There is always a chorus of individuals asking why we keep providing diversity training.  The answer is because learning has not taken place!  Until organizations see the change manifested in the workplace, training must continue.  I know there has been a host of bad training over the years, but you do not stop it, you fix it and keep going!
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EEOC – African American Workgroup Report

Executive Summary From EEOC Report

In January 2010, Carlton Hadden, Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations (OFO), commissioned a work group to identify the obstacles that remain in the federal workplace that hinder equal employment opportunities for African Americans.

This workgroup was created in furtherance of the EEOC’s overall mission to eradicate discrimination in both the federal sector and private sector workplace. EEOC’s OFO ensures equality of opportunity within the federal sector by implementing its regulatory and adjudicatory authority and through use of its oversight function.

In advancement of the mission of the Commission and OFO’s oversight responsibilities, between 2010 and 2012, the African American workgroup engaged in a series of discussions with EEO officials, various affinity groups, and subject matter experts. The workgroup decided that it would be most efficient to hold these discussions in conjunction with a similar workgroup commissioned to identify obstacles for Women in the federal workplace.

In summation, the workgroup began the dialogue about obstacles facing African Americans by engaging in a roundtable discussion with federal EEO Directors, who are responsible for the implementation of a continuing affirmative employment program to promote equal employment opportunity and to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices and policies. Next, the workgroup engaged in roundtable dialogue with federal Special Emphasis Program Managers, who are tasked with assisting agencies in ensuring equal opportunity for specific protected classes that are underrepresented. Subsequently, the workgroup held roundtable discussions with various affinity groups, including Blacks in Government (BIG); Federally Employed Women (FEW); and the African American Federal Executives Association (AAFEA).

Additionally, the workgroup dialogued with non-federal interest and advocacy groups, including the Equal Justice Society, the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, Workplace Flexibility 2010, and the Equal Rights Center. Finally, we received input from academic expert Dr. Paula Caplan, who is the Voices of Diversity Project Director for the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University and an author, noted research psychologist, and professor. We assured our dialogue partners that their contributions to this discussion would only be generally reported and not specifically attributed to any particular dialogue partner.

Our dialogue partners identified many obstacles to achieving equality for African Americans in the federal workforce, and provided recommendations for overcoming those obstacles. For the most part, the impediments identified below were independently and repeatedly identified by our dialogue partners as the most formidable obstacles to equal employment opportunities for African Americans in the federal sector. We note that while we are not issuing a traditional report with findings and conclusions of the EEOC, we are issuing this report to memorialize the obstacles and recommendations identified by our dialogue partners.

Read the full report at  African American Workgroup Report.

Gay Worker Study: Center for Work-Life Policy finds 48 percent of college-educated gay Americans hide their sexual orientation at work.

The Center for Work-Life Policy found that 48 percent of gay Americans pretend to be heterosexual at work, and that roughly a third are leading “double lives,” meaning that they stay in the closet while at the office but are openly gay in their personal lives.

via Gay Worker Study: Center for Work-Life Policy finds 48 percent of college-educated gay Americans hide their sexual orientation at work..

Diversity Management is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic – Glenn Llopis – The Immigrant’s Perspective – Forbes

Diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. No longer can America’s corporations hide behind their lack of cultural intelligence.

via Diversity Management is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic – Glenn Llopis – The Immigrant’s Perspective – Forbes.

Top Ten Professions In Which Blacks Are Still Underrepresented | News One

Black have been underrepresented in the following fields for years, but now there is an emphasis on rectifying the problem. The top ten careers in which African-Americans are underrepresented ironically point the way out of limiting employment scenarios onto new paths:

via Top Ten Professions In Which Blacks Are Still Underrepresented | News One.