Internet Supports Woman Who Reported Coworker After Being Called 'Diversity Hire'

A woman went viral after sharing that she reported her coworker who called her a "diversity hire" at work. The woman claimed the employee was later fired after the report, and she said people are blaming her for taking the situation straight to HR.

The woman, who goes only by u/hellhathnofuriosa on Reddit, posted about her situation on the popular "Am I The A**hole" subreddit and received more than 13,300 votes and 1,800 comments.

In the post, u/hellhathnofuriosa explained that she is a woman of color who came from a "disadvantaged background." She said she recently landed her dream job at a prestigious company after graduating and that many of her coworkers are "extremely ambitious and well connected individuals from wealthy families."

u/Hellhathnofuriosa said that recently, her company asked if she'd be interested in being part of some marketing campaigns and ads. She agreed and said she did several interviews and photoshoots.

"My pictures are on the company website (I have my own page discussing my experience) and I am featured on many of the marketing materials released by the company," the post explained. "I was a little taken aback by the amount of exposure and attention but figured it couldn't hurt."

In the post, the woman said that one of her coworkers Susie, who is also a recent graduate, has "voiced her displeasure" with how heavily featured she is in the promotional material. She claimed Susie joked about her being the obvious "favorite" and how the company doesn't care about her colleagues.

"It almost felt like she was angry and blaming me," the post read. "It made me feel uncomfortable and I tried to keep my distance as much as possible."

The woman said recently Susie invited her to go out for lunch. She said yes thinking it would be an attempt to finally get along, but as they were discussing their experiences at the company so far, Susie told the woman that "nobody expects much" from her.

"I was confused and she said that I'm 'obviously a diversity hire' so they just want me there to look good," the post read. "Of course I was shocked and hurt but I didn't argue with her at all. After lunch I brought this incident up with HR. I made it clear how disturbed I was by those comments. Long story short - Susie was fired."

Gracie Johnson-Lopez, president of Diversity & HR Solutions, told Forbes that she recommends a five-pronged strategy to manage such comments.

Johnson-Lopez recommended that individuals keep a record of comments and events in case they plan on filing a complaint in the future. She also recommends concentrating on what you bring to the table rather than how you differ from other employees, creating an internal network for advice, trusting your instincts, and knowing yourself and your strengths.

"Know yourself and refuse to be shamed or to carry the burdens of others' stereotypes," she told Forbes. "Maintain your dignity, integrity, confidence and keep an open heart."

According to data from the Corporate Leavers Survey, people of color are twice as likely to cite workplace unfairness as the reason for leaving their employer as their white female counterparts. The survey also found that more than two million employees and managers leave their job yearly due to "cumulative small comments, whispered jokes and not-so-funny emails."

In the post, the woman said that many people were shocked that Susie was fired and that it even caused some drama between her colleagues. The woman also wrote in the post that Susie's friends have reached out to tell her that she is now "depressed" and "at the worst point of her life" since she got fired.

"I've been told that Susie worked very hard for this opportunity and that I destroyed everything in an instant," the woman wrote. "They said that I was a complete a**hole for taking this to HR so fast instead of communicating with Susie. On the other hand, my friends backed me up and said this was completely deserved. Honestly, am I the a**hole in this situation?"

More than 1,800 users rushed to the comments section of the woman's post, many supporting her and calling out Susie's wildly inappropriate comments.

Many users commented that people don't get fired after one complaint and that Susie must have had several other incidents that caused her to finally get the boot.

"​​People generally aren't fired over one incident (unless it is something like committing a crime)," one user mentioned. "They are fired for a pattern of behavior."

"Not only did this employee create a hostile workplace and specifically target OP because of her race and perceived favouritism over time, she organised a whole lunch to attack her," another comment read. "Her racism and unprofessionalism was egregious. Not many companies would want to wear the liability of retaining an employee holding those beliefs and acting on them."

Many also suggested that the woman start documenting the various comments she received at work and possibly file another complaint if the hostile work environment did not get better soon.

"If Susies friends who are harassing you for a totally appropriate workplace response also work for the company, report them too," one user recommended.

Newsweek reached out to u/hellhathnofuriosa for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

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A woman said her coworker told her she was a "diversity hire" and when she reported it to HR, the coworker was fired. Now, the employee's friends are blaming the woman for going to HR rather than having a conversation in private. (Stock photo) istock/Getty