You see a clear case of workplace discrimination. Maybe your boss laughs about firing someone who was of a different ethnicity. Maybe you see a supervisor throw away all employment applications from women.
Maybe someone makes disparaging remarks that everyone can hear, and everyone just awkwardly looks back at their computers and tries to act like it didn’t happen. Why do people ignore things like this when they know that they’re both unethical and illegal?
The reason, in many cases, is just that they want to preserve their own jobs. They want to protect their own careers. They may be concerned that speaking up or “rocking the boat” in any way could be detrimental to them. Therefore, they stay silent even when it is clear that what’s happening is wrong.
This desire for self-preservation is so strong that experts have even seen it extend past illegal activities. Many employees who have potentially beneficial ideas won’t say anything because they don’t want those above them to see them as some sort of adversary. They find it easier to just ignore problems and suppress ideas, going along with whoever is in charge.
This mindset of too many employees needs to change. All employees have legal rights and do not deserve to be discriminated against. Whistleblowers also have rights when they report illegal activity that they witness or are asked to participate in. It is important for employees to know what steps they can take and what they should do when they think that discrimination and other illegal activities are creating a hostile workplace.