Last year, I wrote a blog post following the murder of Trayvon Martin and the delayed arrest of George Zimmerman. In case you missed it, you can read it HERE.
Here we are about 18 months later and George Zimmerman has been charged, a trial completed and a verdict rendered … Not guilty. On all counts.
Outrage and debate abound on both sides. While most agree that Zimmerman isn’t “innocent” just because the verdict is “not guilty,” there’s a lot of question on whether or not justice has been served … My answer to that is “no” because a child is dead and the person who killed him was not convicted on any charge. A crime was committed and, ultimately, no one is responsible or accountable for it … As much as I love the American justice system, I just have a hard time calling this justice.
And in this moment, I’m glad to be a HR Professional.
Because, in my workplace, there’s justice and people are accountable for their actions.
- If someone violates a policy, they are corrected
- If someone keeps violating the same policy, they are ultimately be let go
- If someone commits an egregious violation of policy, they are immediately terminated
And, even when there’s “reasonable doubt” about whether someone actually committed the violation they’re accused of, a reminder warning is still issued and kept on file.
Because in our workplaces, we must ensure all people are treated fairly and consistently. We must enforce laws and policies to the end … When we fail at this, we’ve failed in our fundamental purpose — and the impact on our workplaces and businesses are obvious, numerous and dangerous.
Of course, everyone isn’t happy with the outcomes in our workplaces, either … But the difference is, when handled appropriately, there is a consequence for the action (or inaction). Someone will always be unhappy with what was done or how it was done — but no one can say that nothing was done or that there is no measure of justice.
At the end of the day, I can accept that as enough.
The HR Professional in me and the American citizen in me and the mom in me doesn’t think this not guilty verdict is enough. And the Black woman who grew up watching profiling cause physical and mental hurt to the people I loved … well, that part of me REALLY doesn’t think this verdict is enough. That part of me is angry, confused and hurt and trying to figure out what to do with all this emotion …
For now, I write and go back to work … God bless us. Everyone.