8

The question in question is: How can I deal with discrimination against groups of colleagues?

To me, it clearly describes a behaviour from management that reeks of discrimination, or at least unbalanced behaviour towards groups of employees. There's a comment there that I find quite surprising:

Isn't the discrimination the other way around? Sounds like management is more interested in keeping an eye on the hearing employees than the non-hearing. Assuming you're a hearing person, management is watching YOU! If they were concerned about the deaf colleagues, they'd be watching THEM! :) Maybe you can edit and clarify why you think this is discriminatory towards the deaf colleagues. I don't get it. Good luck! :)

The question seems extremely clear to me, but if it managed to confuse jmort253 I'm more than willing to accept that the question isn't that clear to everyone else. That said I'd appreciate a more detailed explanation, by anyone, if I wanted to discuss this with jmort253 I'd either ping him in chat or post a comment to the question responding to his.

The other comment that addresses what people may have thought was problematic with the question is:

I think this question would be better handled if you remove the racial discrimination from it. You provide no details of the discrimination and it is a seperate issue from what is beiong asked here. It distracts from the heart of this question.

Cool, I've made some edits myself, removing the mention to racism, but I fail to see what "the heart" of the question is, or, better, why the heart of the question wasn't clear from the start. All I wrote above for jmort253 also apply to Chad, the poster of the second comment.

There are three answers, two of them are good, and all say more or less the same thing: Gather more evidence, and report the behaviour. This is the answer (imho), to an actual, practical problem in the workplace.

Another, perhaps lesser, issue is that, albeit the question being closed as Not A Real Question, there were two Off Topic close votes in there. I have absolutely no idea what's off topic about the question, I could understand the need for further clarifications or the broadness of the subject, but I'd like to urge close voters to spend a couple of seconds picking the more appropriate close reason when they've already decided that the question doesn't belong.

I'm more than aware that closed means closed, and the close reason itself is not that important, however this is the very first question the OP asked on Stack Exchange ever. Let's be a bit more thoughtful and welcoming in the future please, it's not that hard to check a user's profile, see that they have absolutely no familiarity with the network and be a bit more careful. Close reasons are designed to broadly communicate what the trouble is with the question, there are just five of them, is not that hard to pick the more appropriate one.

As a moderator on Programmers, I'm more than ready to explain each and every one of my close votes there. I'm not assuming that everyone will agree with my explanation, all I'm saying is that I have an explanation for both the closure and the close reason, and I fail to see how anyone would pick Off Topic here. As always, I'm ready to be proven wrong.

A tangentially related note:

I did some minor edits on the Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace question (no idea how the question was viewed 800+ times, and no one noticed the misspelling on harassment in the title), and shared it around in a general and a couple of more specialized communities, in an effort to attract experts.

And, then it got a close vote, an Off Topic one, after I removed the only thing in it that seemed off topic (the request for legal advice). While I couldn't care less for a single close vote, I'm afraid the Workplace is quickly becoming a site for trivial interviewing and resume questions, questions that more often than not are answerable by a simple web search or common sense, and not a high quality site where actual, practical and non trivial problems get solved.

I do realize both questions might be problematic, but I would expect the community to be a bit more careful, welcoming, and thorough on questions that are about non trivial and perhaps a bit sensitive matters. Edit, comment, discuss in chat, and only close if (when?) all else fails.

I'm afraid we are shifting towards trivial questions, and, as a community, we failed more than once on non trivial questions.


update

The question was re-opened, thanks all for taking a closer look at it and especially to those who edited it and improved it. I'm still very interested in reading your answers on the deeper issues I (think) I'm bringing up here.

5

After reading Yannis's post and taking a second look, I admit I acted in haste on the close vote. I was a little annoyed that the original poster hadn't responded to anyone's request for clarification, even though it showed that person had since visited. Also, below is an explanation and context behind my comment, which after reading, prompts me to edit it on the main site.

Discrimination Issue - Peer Reviews

In regards to the discrimination, sometimes people see things happening around them that aren't really there, and if I think about the times when I was in the Army when I was being evaluated by higher-ups, you can bet that it was always more stressful to have a Sergeant evaluating you (analogous to a manager) than one of your peers. It happened quite often where a Specialist or a Private First Class was delegated the job of making sure we all performed task X, and those situations were way more lax than when dealing with an NCO (a Sergeant).

So when someone tells me they feel they're being discriminated against because they get to work with a peer rather than being directly supervised by a manager, that skeptical part of my brain that suspects someone might be crying wolf starts to light up. From my background, I'd actually prefer the peer evals. Of course, I don't have a disability, so perhaps it's more difficult for me to see the full picture because in the environment I typically operate in, we're not separated into such distinct groups like hearing and non-hearing.

I still would want the op explain why he/she thinks this is discrimination before I'd answer it, but maybe that just means I'm not an expert in this particular aspect of the Workplace. Being of the hearing world, and not being part of any minority groups, perhaps I have trouble relating to this particular issue.

The Mistake

I'm going to rewrite my comment on the post so it's a bit more constructive. My emphasis didn't come off how I intended. I'm not sure if it fixes the issue, but it's a start. I'd like to think I normally do a better job than leaving comments such as this.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that voting to close as not a real question was not the correct action in this case. I admit I made a mistake, and I apologize! I'm also casting a reopen vote.

  • I was a little annoyed that the original poster hadn't responded to anyone's request for clarification, even though it showed that person had since visited. The question was posted by a brand new SE user, and it's not that hard to miss notifications of comments when you're new, the interface is a bit complex and it takes some time to get used to it - and I'm mostly saying this for myself, as I've also been annoyed in the past that a brand new user failed to respond to comments, although they've visited the site. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 5:53
  • @YannisRizos - Absolutely. You're right. I can't argue with any of the points you've made here. The annoyance really wasn't justified, and this was clearly a mistake on my part. I thought it was important for me to explain myself because it really is critical to the health of these communities that we use these votes, and comments, carefully. Thank you for bringing up this issue! – jmort253 Oct 9 '12 at 6:02
  • ...coincidentally I served as a Sergeant, which might explain how we approached the question from different perspectives ;) Obviously I have no way to verify whether there's actual discrimination going on or not, and of course I'd welcome any clarification from the OP, I just felt we were a bit hasty on this one, and the off topic close vote on the harassment question really got on my nerves, and given the related nature of the questions I started to wonder whether we want (or can cope with) such questions. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 6:06
5

After the latest edit I think most of my concerns are addressed (I've voted to reopen).

I have left them below however.


I'm not looking on how to deal with discrimination in the workplace in general, but how could I deal with this specific situation from an employees perspective. For example: report it or not?

There are a few reasons here which make it a bad question in my opinion.

  • First, the question specifically says it is not a general question (I get the context here). It asks about a specific situation (making it too localized) which I'd be highly surprised if is of use to anyone in the future, because it is totally localized and...
  • Two, it is incredibly vague. Situations like this can never really be described in enough details to make anything other than a passing judgement over. One sentence cannot possibly give anyone enough information to have a valid answer in a situation like this. We don't have any idea what the circumstances really are given the asked question
  • Third, the entire situation is predicated on all sorts of assumptions the asker is making over motivations, just read the first paragraph. How can the asker possibly know the motivations?
  • Fourth, this has huge legal implications - if this is really taking place and is really discrimination then it is a legal problem - not a workplace problem
  • Fifth, it is a yes/no question at heart (see the end of the question)
  • Sixth, there is no chance of an adequate answer to this question because of the above, to really answer the question in a way which is valuable to anyone else will basically say "think about X, Y, or Z" and not even be remotely able to actually nor directly answer the question
  • 1) Too localized doesn't apply here, we are asking people to ask about actual practical problems, that are by definition localized. Yes, preferably questions should apply to a wider question, but they must be about actual practical problems one is facing in the workplace, we won't sacrifice that in favour of making the question more general. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:36
  • 2) Situations like this can never really be described in enough details to make anything other than a passing judgement over So, we're admitting defeat? – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:37
  • 3) How can the asker possibly know the motivations? A good question to ask the OP in a comment. The whole point of this rant is that for non trivial issues, we should favour comments over close votes. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:37
  • 4) this has huge legal implications As does any workplace issue. If the question is not asking about legal advice, it's on topic. If "get legal advice" is its answer, that's also fine. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:38
  • 5) it is a yes/no question at heart I did that, moving a comment by the OP into the question, if that's an issue let's reverse my edit, not close the question. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:39
  • 6) 2/3 answers are adequate, imho. Probably not definitive, or canonical, but the question has been sufficiently answered. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:40
  • btw my downvote here is strictly because I disagree with your assertions, in no way am I unappreciative of your effort to explain your position or ignoring the fact that you commented on the question and participated in the chat discussion about it. Just a note though, your comment wasn't really helpful, telling someone their question is broad is just noise, explain why the question is broad is priceless. Always favour explanations over statements. – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 0:46
  • @YannisRizos 1) No we are asking about what to do if this exact situation happens again. - 2) No we are saying that passing judgement is not constructive on SE. 3) Except the question is really really bad in current form. It needs to be fixed badly before bad answers pile Up. I am willing to vote to reopen if it gets fixed... its not there yet. 5) Reversing your edit just reinstates the original really really bad question. 6) The question is a broken window. I want it to be fixed but we need more info from the OP to do so. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 9 '12 at 13:40
  • @Chad If "really really bad" is your honest assessment of the question and not a hyperbole, I'm sorry, but there isn't much to discuss here, we are obviously on opposite ends on this one. Also please note that re-iterating that a question is "really really bad" thrice is just plain noise if you don't explain why it's "really really bad". – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 13:43
  • @YannisRizos - It was really really bad because it was not constructive, asking a hypothetical, sounded more like a rant than a question, and was asking for a yes or no. It needed to be closed. But the heart of the question was savable and you did a good job saving it. Close edit reopen worked exactly as it should. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 9 '12 at 13:58

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