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I have a coworker, let's call them Morgan. Morgan is a minority, the same as me, we are not friends but I can't help but feel some camaraderie towards them since we are in the same situation. Recently Morgan were victim of workplace prejudice, the manager tried to solve it in a way that mostly dismissed the problem instead of solving it, the worst is that the manager in question is part of the same minority!

If I were in Morgan's place (which let's be honest, can happen anytime) I would be packing my stuff and start looking for a new job. Right now we can't tell if Morgan is doing this exact thing right now.

I have a good relation with my manager and they seem to honestly care about their subordinates, I would like to tell them this whole situation is worrisome to me. Is it acceptable to give feedback regarding a situation that didn't happen to me specifically but could happen anytime? Or do I just shut up?

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While I get where it comes from, I disagree with the previous answer saying that you should keep everything to yourself.

Morgan might not want you to get in their case, but your worries are that it might happen to you. From your post, I gather that you do not share the same manager as them. Then, approach your manager and make it about you.

Mention that you witnessed an incident and how it was handled. That you find it inappropriate, and that you would like to get some reassurance that were you the victim, your case would be handled differently. Or at least how you would expect it to be handled. You might try to be as vague as possible, if you'd rather keep Morgan's privacy.

You might feel sympathetic, but essentially what interests you is what may happen to you. It is causing you some distress (at least enough to ask about it here), and you should check whether your company has a latent toxic environment for your minority.

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    +1 Make it about your worries without necessarily mentioning Morgan. I think your manager (or the manager in question) will probably understand the situation and might even give you some insights that others do not know. – Tom W. Oct 31 at 8:46
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    Although I agree with this answer more than Johns, I do think that OP should talk to Morgan before going to the manager – Bee Oct 31 at 10:54
  • Although I beleive this answer is better then Johns, it does depend a little on the size of the company and distance between you, Morgan and the managers. IF you bring it up without names how easy is it for your manager to know that it is actually about Morgan? If it is easy I think you should discuss it with Morgan, if it is difficult. you dont need to. – user180146 Oct 31 at 11:00
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Sounds like it is Morgan's problem not yours. You may not know the whole story so you should probably keep your nose out of it no matter how well intentioned you are.

If you don't like that advice: At least talk to Morgan before getting involved. Morgan may not want you involved.

< edit >

I've re read the question and all of the other answers. I think the correct course depends very heavily on how confident you are that you know all the facts about the original prejudice incident and the response. If the incident was not as you believe then the response you think was necessary may not be warranted.

What ever you decide to do if it can come back to Morgan somehow then you should talk to Morgan first.

  • I wouldn't be so careful about Morgan's feelings. It's on him too address his situation, not on the op. The op is worried about what happened, period. He just want to assess if that's normal behavior at the company and state that we're it to happen likewise with him he wouldn't like this approach. – Spidey Nov 2 at 8:14
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People react to different things in different ways.

People also make the mistake of thinking that people with some similarities share more traits than they actually do.

Combine the two and you have your present situation. Of the three of you, it seems that you are taking the incident most to heart. So, you have at least three different viewpoints here.

First and foremost, do NOTHING without speaking to Morgan. Few things get people more angry than being kept out of the loop of things that concern them. Second, be very considerate of Morgan's feelings and career. If you stir the pot over anything involving him, it will be Morgan, not you, that gets any backlash.

Lastly, if the manager doesn't see it as the problem you do, and you push back, it could go badly for you.

Since you didn't say what the incident was or how serious, I can't get any more specific, and have to defer to the manager's judgement here. What I can tell you, is that getting involved on behalf of someone else is always a risky endeavor.

With the information you've given us, I can only say "back off"

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So, John says it's not your problem since you may not know the full story and clem says it might affect you, so you should take to your boss.

What about the middle way? Go to the boss to discuss it and not mentioning Morgan? Let the boss raise the topic of Morgan if he wants to, but only discuss your own concerns.

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tl;dr Don't talk to your boss. Don't take the lead on this. Support your coworker if they do in an act of solidarity.

It's absolutely important to show solidarity with our coworkers when it comes to issues with management prejudice, along with other social issues that can occur when there is a power imbalance. It's also important to recognize that just because someone shares a certain demographic, it doesn't mean they have the same experiences, or feel the same way about social conditions. The workplace is an especially dangerous territory for this.

You must not take action without "Morgan" taking the lead on this. You can support them with your solidarity if they bring this up in a public forum such as an all-hands meeting. What happens, more often than not, is that the crusader will bring up the issue thinking that they are doing the "right thing", but when the aggrieved party is asked about the situation, the aggrieve party says something like "nope, not a big deal at all". Then the crusader is left out there having caused a commotion over something the aggrieved party says is not a big deal.

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