“Jim” is a fellow employee at your workplace.
You can see that Jim is unhappy and harboring material on-the-job stress. You don’t know exactly why that should be the case. You know Jim as a productive and willing worker, but you can see that there is some manifest and ongoing tension between him, a departmental supervisor and some of the latter’s closer cronies.
Bottom line: You do notice a fair level of adversely disparate treatment doled out Jim’s way. And you can see that he often comes in for public criticism. Moreover, he never seems to get any positive strokes for doing work you know is at a quality level. And the project assignments he gets compared to yours are flatly lousy.
You feel bad for Jim, but it’s basically his problem to address and remedy, right? That is, you don’t think that there are any broad-based and negative spillover effects for your work unit.
You might want to think again.
And here is why: Ample research findings show that unfair and discriminatory conduct aimed at even one company worker can cause widespread negative ripple effects.
That can be true for a number of reasons. “Jim’s” cumulative job stress can ultimately have a demoralizing impact on coworkers. Jim’s work product might suffer, with a carryover effect on the work being done by others. Jim might just quit, putting the work team into an overload capacity and necessitating a new hire and attendant training duties. Perhaps a lawsuit and negative publicity might be coming the company’s way.
The central truth about workplace discrimination is that its detrimental effects are progressively erosive and seldom confined in any narrow way.