In the past accusations of discrimination at the workplace only became public knowledge if a major news outlet decided to cover the story. The rise of social media has changed that by giving every individual an opportunity to share his or her experience with millions of people worldwide. When former Versace employee Christopher Shapiro’s allegations of racial profiling and racial discrimination by a manager went viral, the internationally famous brand found itself under attack by angry social media users. Social media has given victims of employment related discrimination and harassment more power by allowing them to quickly share their experiences with others. When accusations of employment discrimination go viral it can change the way the entire situation is handled.
The World is Watching
Under normal circumstances, an accusation of discrimination made by an employee is handled internally by the appropriate people and may not become public knowledge even after a lawsuit is filed. Once the situation is shared on social media and goes viral, everything changes. Not only does it mean the entire world is watching your company to see how the allegations are handled, some of these watchers may offer to help the former employee. It is not unusual for attorneys to volunteer their assistance and others may donate money to help with legal costs. At this point, not only is the world watching, they are taking active steps to work against the business in question.
Not everyone volunteers to offer aid to an employee whose accusation or case has become visible. Instead, some decide to offer their support in passive ways that can cause a business even more harm. A person who is not vocal on social media may instead decide to stop financially supporting that business, encouraging friends and family to avoid the company, as well. Also, as angry social media users flock to a company’s social media profiles to leave complaints and low ratings, potential customers who are unaware of the dispute may take their business elsewhere after seeing bad reviews. All bad reviews impact a business regardless of how they were acquired or the validity of the claims.
Once a large number of individuals learn of an employment discrimination claim, the accountability of everyone involved increases. Savvy internet users will not hesitate to research the background of all parties, comment on discrepancies, and complain about slow or nonexistent action. Even after attention wanes it never fully disappears, and interested parties often demand regular updates. No company should expect to have the situation swept under the rug and former employees have greater encouragement to continue pursuing their claim.
Utilize the Momentum
If you or someone you know has shared experiences of workplace or hiring discrimination that turned into a viral phenomenon, do not waste your momentum. Contact a qualified discrimination attorney to discuss your situation and how you should proceed. Always explain to the attorney that you have discussed the issue on social media and show your attorney the post so that he or she can advise you on future responses, documenting any communication with your employer, or saying anything that may jeopardize your case. The lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys are able to help protect your case while providing the legal support you need. Contact our Denver, Colorado location today to schedule a private consultation.