I was asked to write a diversity case study for a course I am taking. Here it is:
Sue, a black female, owns a company with 30 employees and hires Betty, a white female who has been the 2 year mistress of Bob (a local business man who still lives with his wife Joyce), to be her administrative assistant.
On Betty’s first day at work, an employee, George, a white homosexual who is Joyce’s brother, walks into Sue’s office and says: “I’ve got to talk with you. Your new assistant, Betty, well, uh, she’s doing terrible things. She’s my brother-in-law’s mistress and is breaking my sister’s heart. You’ve got to get rid of her.”
Sue responds: “Now, George, I’m sorry you’re having a hard time accepting my new assistant, but she is a great person and very qualified for the job. And you know, we have to be tolerant and accepting in the work place; it’s the law. Just try to be more open-minded, George.”
George turns and walks out of Sue’s office. He is very hurt by what he (perhaps because of his low diversity maturity) perceives to be a rejection of his beliefs and concerns. Matters get worse the next day when George sees a picture of his brother-in-law, Bob, hanging on the wall in Betty’s office. Even more hurt, George begins to tell other employees about Betty and the tremendous pain that her affair with his brother-in-law is causing his sister Joyce.
Abdul, an African Muslim employee, feels so sorry for George that he goes to talk with Sue. “In my home country,” Abdul says, “adultery is serious and harmful act, not tolerated. I feel wronged with Betty here, but it worse for George. I don’t agree with what George does, but he not talk about it at work. I feel his pain he feels for his sister. George told me he quit if Betty keep working here. I thought America more fair than that.”
What should Sue do? She has built her company on diversity, not just inclusion. What many see as George’s sinful behavior is accepted and tolerated in her company. Should Betty’s be, too?