A reader writes:
I work at one of the top five tech companies in the country. Recently I sat in a class for managers on harassment in the workplace. We were discussing the duty to report harassment or hostile work environments if you are a manager, whether it is your department or not. A colleague then asked the question, “What if you know of something that could effect another employee though they are not aware? Say you know the manager of a gay employee is opposed to same sex marriage on religious grounds. Should we report that since it could affect the gay employee without their knowledge?”
There were no gasps or murmuring. The instructor merely said that we don’t judge what people believe in the recesses of their minds — it’s only when it becomes behavior that we are concerned. It was left at that, and years ago I might have generously interpreted that to mean only actual behavior toward the gay employee would be problematic. After Eich, it could mean donations, liking a problematic website publicly, noting online that you read a suspicious book, pictures of attending a religious service at a ‘bigoted church.’ The Law of Merited Possibility indeed.
Imagine that: people eager to inform on those within the organization suspected of harboring disloyal thoughts. Imagine what it would be like to work for a company in which you have to view every single one of your coworkers with suspicion, afraid that they will find out something about your religion or political donations and denounce you to the company’s enforcers. This is the new America. Silence means security.