Workplace Allegations in the Unlikeliest of Places

The International Rescue Committee (“IRC”), an organization whose goal is to help those affected by conflict and disaster, is under investigation for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Allegations focus on IRC diversity (particularly as related to board members and directors) and hiring former refugees for temporary low-paid work, as well as belittling and gaslighting staff. These allegations stand in stark contrast to IRC’s statement that it “was founded to help people survive in the face of racist violence and oppression” and its commitment to “racial and social justice.”

Business Takeaway: Despite its noble and inclusive mission, IRC is now grappling with more than a few ironic internal issues. While many businesses and other entities face (founded or unfounded) allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation at some point, it always seems to come as a surprise when a charitable organization is in the spotlight. Of course, this is proof that some behaviors at issue flow from the worst in human nature, that no organization is immune, and that we must be vigilant in our efforts via workplace policies and company culture to set the right tone and respond as necessary.