[Video description: A navy blue background appears with one black line at the top and one black line at the bottom, with a torn up white paper taped to the middle of the screen. Two words appear in black cursive: “Dear You.” Next, Tomeka King, also known as TK, appears on the screen. TK is a Black Deaf female with her hair pulled back, and she is wearing glasses and a black tee shirt. TK is standing in front of a cream white wall and white door. TK provides an ASLized version of the article below. Deaf Vee Journal‘s watermark logo appears at the lower right corner of the video.]

Dear Community, 

Do those real-life scenarios in the social services workplace sound familiar? Any and all names used are gender-neutral pseudonyms.

Scenario #1: “Woke” Bullying

The organization you work at allows the word “racist” to be thrown around loosely without following proper protocols. The tension and fear that arises in the workplace among employees. Racism is still among us, but we must handle it with caution because it can cause permanent damage to other individuals’ careers.

A white employee uses their “allyship” and their “education on white fragility” to mask their own intentional harm inflicted on other BIPOC persons—whether it is fellow co-workers, clients, or the public—over the course of weeks, months, or years. Ongoing disrespect towards other staff and the perpetuation of hate within the organization, all from this employee. Accountability is zero. The organization has an employee handbook, but it seems to be “optional” since it was expressed verbatim.

This concern was repeatedly relayed to the overseeing board, and yet no action was taken whatsoever… enabling the “woke” bully to continue their path of destruction.

Frankly, any organization that allows this behavior to go unchecked will be in a state of constant chaos and has so much internal work to do.

Scenario #2: Sexual Harassment

Most of the time when you walk down the hallway, you notice your co-worker, Morgan, in their cubicle, casually either browsing Facebook on the computer or chatting with feminine-presenting folks on the videophone.

You find yourself wondering if you just happened to catch Morgan doing this while on a break, if they spend a lot of their time doing this on the job, and what they really do for their position besides monthly video newsletters and company-sponsored events.

On a regular basis, your other co-workers vent to you regarding how Morgan is “doing nothing,” and how they seem to have it so easy. When you ask if they reported this to management, the co-workers let out a heavy sigh of frustration before saying with a shake of their head, “They know and they just don’t care.”

Morgan is well-known in the Deaf community…it shields them from any consequences, you think to yourself.

Later you come across allegations that Morgan sexually harassed other female employees in the workplace, the said female employees were fired for reporting sexual harassment, and lawsuits are in the works. You can’t help but think of all the others who wanted to report but were too scared to. How long did all this go on?

Scenario #3: Fraud

For years, this nonprofit has been and still is dishonest with numerous funders about expenses and how funds are being spent. Multiple program or project goals are never actually completed, and yet the nonprofit marks them as such in their submitted reports to the funders. Insurances are billed monthly for services that were never provided, for clients who never existed, and for clients who left the program long ago. Misuse of staff happens often, and there are lapses in certification. Nonprofit staff are intentionally building a pipeline of co-dependent, long-term repeat clients to justify additional funding.

The Board members are fully aware of all this, and what is their response? A nonchalant shrug.

Does this sound like your workplace? Take action. Want a better tomorrow? Do something about it today to make a difference, even if it will cost you the job. Figure out a plan.

Far too often, we hear of employees remaining silent about the unethical workplace due to fear of retaliation, fear of rejection and being driven to isolation from the community, or for financial survival however long it lasts. Employees stay for months or years, but at what expense? Their well-being and conscience.

Reach deep inside for your integrity and remember your values. Don’t let being a pawn on the chess board for the company’s gain cost you your quality of life. You deserve so much better.

Love yourself,