By Lawrence P. Schaefer |
President-elect Donald Trump will assume office in January 2017, after the most divisive, contentious and disturbing Presidential campaign, followed by the most surprising result, in our history.
We’ve never been more divided as Americans. We who value diversity, tolerance, gender equity, and truly equal employment opportunities have never felt more threatened. Protecting our core principles must be a shared responsibility amongst advocates, legislators, judges, workers and responsible employers. The advocates at Schaefer Halleen intend to turn our fear into productive action.
We are bolstering our efforts to reach into at-risk communities, especially progressive women, minorities, the LBGTQ community, the undocumented immigrant community, Muslims, and disabled workers seeking access, accommodation, and fair treatment. This outreach will educate these groups about their rights in the workplace, empower them to stand up and assert these rights, and let them know they have an ally in us, if it becomes necessary.
The aftermath of this election has exposed many troubling issues. Perhaps the most disturbing is the discernible and palpable rise, nation-wide, of hate-based speech and conduct, generally targeting those in our community who are most vulnerable. These incidents are hitting close to home. In the cafeteria of my own daughter’s private, suburban high school, two tables of senior boys chanted “build that wall” at a group of Hispanic students sitting nearby.
Many similar, and far more egregious examples of hate speech have been widely reported in the media. We can and should expect overtly racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim comments and behavior to increase in the workplace, as those who harbor these views in private have been emboldened to express them and act on them more publicly. We at Shaefer Halleen will aggressively advocate for anyone victimized by this kind of behavior in the workplace.
Finally, we intend to set an example of understanding and inclusiveness both internally and externally at the firm. We will strive to make the business case for diversity and equal opportunity not just in our advocacy, but in all firm activities. This will involve educating ourselves, our clients, our adversaries, the judicial system, and our community how we are all capable of engaging in discriminatory and retaliatory behavior – that this isn’t an “us versus them” phenomenon. Gaining this understanding, and bravely facing the shadow which allows fear to direct our behavior, is the first step toward real change; individually and as a society.
We hope you’ll join us.