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Upholding Integrity: Navigating Ethical Challenges

As HR professionals, we are extensively trained to prevent discrimination, educate others on recognizing it, and know what steps to take if we suspect discrimination. But what happens when discrimination targets us, the HR professionals? How do we safeguard our integrity?

Integrity isn't merely a value to me; it's the bedrock of my career, spanning over two decades in HR. In every decision, collaboration, and investigation, integrity has guided me. It's the beacon ensuring fairness, trustworthiness, compassion, and empathy in all interactions.

Recently, during an interaction with a local business, my commitment to integrity faced a formidable test. Though the initial signs were promising, red flags emerged during the application process. The questions delved into areas that violate regulations regarding disability inquiries. Despite recognizing the issue, I proceeded, aiming to enlighten and provide perspective. I am always optimistic.

However, during this interaction, it became evident that the owner lacked genuine interest in my qualifications. His dismissive demeanor indicated that my answers to disability-related questions had biased his perception of me. Reflecting on the experience, I couldn't shake the notion that many others might have encountered similar biases, unfairly affecting their chances.

As an HR professional, I'm equipped to identify and confront discrimination. After much deliberation, I realized if I did not do something, I would fail as an HR professional and I would jeopardize my integrity. I took action and filed an EEOC complaint against the employer, knowing that the discriminatory questions were a pivotal factor in hiring decisions. This incident reinforced my belief that integrity must never waver, even in the face of adversity.

This is just my story of how I safeguarded my integrity. The action I took is what I believe is appropriate for my situation in navigating an ethical challenge.

Let this serve as a reminder that integrity is not a mere concept; it's a commitment to doing what's right, even when it's challenging. As professionals, we bear the responsibility of upholding the highest ethical standards and ensuring fairness and equality for all, including ourselves, the HR professional.

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