By: Jaime-Alexis Fowler, Founder and Executive Director of Empower Work
"Professor Says the Workplace Is the Fifth Leading Cause of Death in the U.S."
"Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies"
"78% of Employees in Tech Report Experiencing Unfair Behavior or Treatment"
These are just a few recent headlines about the American workplace. From microaggressions and gaslighting to being groped by customers to HR teams that retaliate against employees for reporting issues, there’s no shortage of toxic and unacceptable behavior.
The headlines paint a bleak picture. And prompt a critical question: “now what?”
While it’s important to draw attention to these issues in workplaces, it’s equally––if not even more important––to talk about avenues for support and change.
What can you do when you’re facing something tough at work?
When you’ve been passed over for a promotion twice and you’re not sure if it’s because of your work quality or your skin tone? When a co-worker blocks you from leaving a meeting and other colleagues simply laugh at “the joke?” When you see a questionable decision that seems to be on an ethical line? When you’re called into HR unexpectedly and worried you’re going to get fired?
When your livelihood, economic security, and/or healthcare may be on the line?
Drawing attention to broader work issues is one part of the equation, but we need to support the individuals facing these issues.
Research shows in those moments having a supportive space to talk with someone is critical. Maybe your next step is a legal action. Maybe it’s practicing how you’re going to ask for a promotion. Maybe it’s collaborating with coworkers towards a larger collective action. Or maybe it’s figuring out your exit plan so that you’re covered financially.
What we’ve seen is that people have incredible ability to navigate complex situations if they have trained, informed support to talk through what they know of themselves, their employer, their boss, the players involved. Our text line provides a non-judgemental space to think through the implications, and if needed, get connected to additional resources from reporting tools to legal referrals.
That’s why we’re here. Workplaces challenges are universal. Support to navigate them should be too.