The current conflict in the Middle East is heartbreaking and generating passionate proclamations and protests. It’s also creating a dehumanizing tribalism that is scary for the affected communities – Arabs, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis.
Many people, without ties to the region, its peoples and cultures, lack knowledge of the complexity of this situation which goes back decades and have oversimplified this conflict as the terrorist/victim or oppressor/oppressed. This conflict should not be reduced to simple soundbites for social media or protests. At a minimum, it requires a few hours of research and an attempt to understand the perspectives of the Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Jews – before making strong statements.
Alarmingly, this conflict is increasing the antisemitism and Islamophobia that is circulating in hate speech around workplaces – particularly on digital communication platforms. This has to stop and it’s up to HR and DEI leaders to provide clear guidance to employees on what is or is not acceptable workplace speech. Without proactive and clear guidance, a vacuum will exist that allows hate speech to foment. As we consistently advise learners in our “ask the expert” portal, everyone has a first amendment right to free speech, but employers also have the right to discipline or terminate any employee whose speech traumatizes co-workers, creates a hostile work environment and/or doesn’t reflect the corporate values.
To support clients’ clear guidance to their employees regarding their speech on the conflict in the Middle East, we’ve produced the microlesson: Stop the Hate: Showing up with Empathy. This was a collaboration with several Emtrain clients – thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. In just a few minutes, it provides clear guidance on employee speech while also pulsing for any troubling hotspots. Clients can access the microlesson in their Content Library, and non-clients can preview the lesson here. Along with the lesson, we’ve created a template message to your workforce which people can access here. You may use this message as-is or with your own edits to communicate to your employees.
Stay tuned later this month for our release of two new lessons combating antisemitism and Islamophobia. It’s going to take leadership and proactive guidance to show our humanity to one another during this global crisis. Emtrain is your committed partner to help achieve that outcome.