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Old 12-19-2003, 05:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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racist hiring

I am disgusted with myself. As a retail manager it is my responsibility to build a team of competent and productive workers, and at the same time attempt to create an atmosphere that is enjoyable. I manage thru mutual respect and have always treated all employees equally in my career. Thru the years I have had to deal with unhappy staff and many terminations, usually with little in the way of problems. I keep full documentation on performance and am honest , but supportive when I see weakness.

Six times now I have had an African/American employee accuse me of racism when confronted about poor performance. I have never had an issue with anyone else. This has brought me to my quandry. I am at the point where it is no longer in the best interest of my store to recruit from this pool. I also fear that a complaint(valid or not) to an institution such as the NAACP would put my career in peril.

Please understand, I am not racist by nature, and interact with a very mixed ethnic social group in my private life, I am in fact deeply insulted when such a charge is placed against me.

Any thoughts?
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Last edited by tecoyah; 12-19-2003 at 05:12 AM..
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Old 12-19-2003, 05:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You can't judge all by a minority. While I know of one African American female who worked with my fiancee that pulled this constantly (and made no secrets about her strategy), I also know of a 30 something white female who uses the "illness" card whenever she gets a chance since she's been diagnosed with depression. She makes no secret about this being her strategy. Then there are people who I know that work for the minimum amount of time to qualify for unemployment and purposefully get fired so they can collect without working. Certainly I would not judge all white male 20 somethings as a group based on these few people.

It sounds like you need to come up with a way to screen this type of behavior out as early as possible. Whether that's through some pointed (but not over the line) questions, more in depth reference checks, or some other tactic.

No matter how you slice it, it's a personality trait rather than some genetic/social trait based on race.
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Old 12-19-2003, 06:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First, be sure you can document all of the performance problems. If you can make it clear that there are objective standards that are simply not being met, your ass is basically covered. Second, do your best not to rise to the bait, as it were. Tell the people that you're very disappointed they feel that way, but your complaint has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with performance. Then show them the documentation, stats, whatever, and try to work with them to improve their performance. Make sure they feel supported and recognized and I don't think you'll have a problem.
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Old 12-19-2003, 06:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It is possible that you may be showing some prejudice unintentionally. People tend to gravitate toward people that are like them, even if there is no malicious intent toward other races. Itís just a fact of life. In a work environment this is easily perceived as bias.

As a supervisor you have to make an extra effort (even if it is only to appease the minds of the ignorant) to appear non-biased. Being a supervisor requires you to be an amateur psychologist. You are in the people business as a supervisor so you have to learn to control perception. You have to create an environment such that if anyone accuses you of racism then even the other people of that race will defend you. Once one employee brands you as a racist it will spread and cause increasing problems.
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Old 12-19-2003, 07:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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as a manager of 15 people, I'm with lurkette. Document for as long as you can... 6 months is sufficient to document someone for immediate termination with no rocks to hide behind like FMLA.

It's your documentation that can make the entire difference. Also, get WITNESSES. Either bring in an assistant manager, another manager, and HR if possible even if it's over the phone. You don't want a he said/she said situation.

As for your gun shy about hiring from the "pool" well hire the most qualified candidates. PERIOD. Not the one with the nicest tits, fairest complexion, etc. You're hired to get a job done, do it to the best of your ability.
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Old 12-19-2003, 07:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Like someone said above, sometimes the cries of racism are a strategy. They know it makes you uncomfortable and it is to their advantage to use it when they might no otherwise be a good employee. I too work with all races of people, and I have seen absolutely no difference in the work behavior of different groups. A bad employee is a bad employee regardless of race. My company is very careful to document the behavior of individuals so that when they are fired it is clear that it was their work behavior rather than any other factor.
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Old 12-19-2003, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Lurkette and Cynthetiq said it best. Keep records, leave a paper trail, and get witnesses.

As to hiring - I don't know what kind of work you are in but raise your standards or change them whatever it is so that anyone with this kind of shoddy attitude be they white, black, or green won't get the job.

I know the feeling and have been in a job where I was accused of something similar - only gender - not race. I had documentation though so did not get in trouble and later just found a different job/work. Until you find a better employee or another job (not suggesting you quite but people do change jobs) then it can be a huge frustration. Just stand tall and keep records of everything. Good Luck
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Old 12-19-2003, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Should you implement a racist practice to avoid being accused of being a racist? No. That doesn't make sense and wouldn't protect you. You can be sued for not hiring people based on race just as assuredly as you can be sued by your employees for racist business practices. Why lose the moral high ground? Don't become a racist to avoid being called a racist.
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Old 12-19-2003, 01:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: racist hiring

Quote:
Originally posted by tecoyah
I am at the point where it is no longer in the best interest of my store to recruit from this pool. I also fear that a complaint(valid or not) to an institution such as the NAACP would put my career in peril.
I don't think you need to refuse to hire black people across the board, but you can and should look at them closely to see if they show signs of being race baiters. For instance, make sure you get references of previous employers and talk to them to see why the person left.

I'm a young unmarried male, so I pay higher car insurance premiums because I'm considered a higher risk to the insurance company. Statistically speaking, people matching my demographic cost them more money.

Same deal for you. Black people are a higher risk to your career and the company you work for because they tend to cause more of these kinds of problems, so that merits consideration in the hiring process.

It's not fair to the many black people who would never think of going around screaming racism in order to get preferential treatment. Nor is it fair that I pay out the ass for insurance despite having only one speeding ticket, zero at-fault accidents, and zero claims on my policy. But life's not fair.

Last edited by irseg; 12-19-2003 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 12-19-2003, 05:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I very much appreciate all your replys, and have had much the same thoughts concerning this situation. I do not intend to actually hire based on race as one of my best employees is also black(and infact warned me of the impending race card employee). Just attempting to get some outside perspective and vent a little frustration. many thanx tec
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Old 12-20-2003, 01:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I was walking through a major department store one time, and as I passed one of the registers this black woman was getting quite upset that she wasn't able to return some article of clothing that she had previously purchased. I distinctly heard her say to the young white male cashier:

"You won't let me return this because I'm black!"

And what the fuck can you say to something like that?
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Old 12-22-2003, 08:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by timalkin


"You won't let me return this because I'm black!"

And what the fuck can you say to something like that?
"I won't let you return it because you are a bitch" (Of course you would only use this if you dont' care about your job, or planning to quit anyways)

That's a tough spot tecoyah. I think the best advice has been given already. Document everything, and hire the person most qualified for the job.
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Old 12-23-2003, 03:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Sounds to me like maybe the first mistake you made was letting the other person trick you into believing it was a racist issue. Some people will take advantage of that on the job, it can be used as a poor excuse when they are not performing at their peek. I've seen this at my job before, one black woman kept showing up late for work so management confronted her, she said something like " You don't confront white people when they are late so why are you confronting me" It turned into this huge racial deal and made the manager quit his job after 5 years of working there. Watch out though, especially if the person doesn't like you because there are cruel people out there that will use the whole racism thing against you to their fullest. Good Luck.
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Old 12-26-2003, 09:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cynthetiq
As for your gun shy about hiring from the "pool" well hire the most qualified candidates. PERIOD. Not the one with the nicest tits, fairest complexion, etc. You're hired to get a job done, do it to the best of your ability.
Attitude is also crucial. Even if they don't have the skills, if they have an 'can do' attitude, they'll learn them.
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