As the workplace continues to evolve along with society, various trainings on topics like diversity, inclusion, and harassment have become more and more commonplace.
But if you feel your company is already diverse, do you have an obligation to train your staff on such matters?
Manager and Redditor Punanistan recently encountered this issue at his small nonprofit, so he turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if he was in the wrong, asking:
“AITA for refusing to authorize diversity training in our workplace?”
The original poster (OP) explained how an employee recently approached him about offering the training.
“I am the manager of a relatively small nonprofit organization that provides hot meals and other basic services to homeless people and to others with low income in our local community.”
“Last week, one of our employees came to my office to pitch to me the idea of doing diversity and inclusion training for our staff.”
“I have no problem with that, but when she told me that it would cost at least $3,000 and up to $8,000, I immediately shot it down.”
The OP balked at the price tag.
“She kept pressing me on it and tried to justify it, and then I started to get annoyed. I guess this is where I may be the AH.”
“I snapped at her and told her that is a ridiculous amount to pay for a few days of training, and I told her that the fact that she thinks this money is worth spending (when that amount could pay for thousands of meals) makes me question her judgment, especially that she is in charge of some of the finances of the organization.”
He also felt that their small and already diverse staff didn’t need that kind of training in the first place.
“I also pointed out the obvious to her, which is the fact that out of ten staff members, seven of us (including myself) are minorities/POC (people of color), and that eight are women.”
“Clearly, we do not have a diversity issue in our organization. I told her there are probably plenty of free resources online that we can use, and that I would not sign off on anything that will cost us more than $500.”
After upsetting the employee, the OP is having some doubts about his actions.
“I could tell that she was upset when she left my office, but I honestly didn’t care at the time. Another employee overheard our conversation and thought I was quite an a**hole about it.”
“Now I’m wondering if I was too harsh, but I have a fiduciary responsibility to our donors and our board of directors, which is why I could not agree to it.”
“Was I being reasonable or was I an AH?”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many agreed with the OP for shutting down the expensive idea.
“NTA. $3,000-$8,000 for 10 people, that sounds fishy to me.”—IAmGettingThePig
“NTA… I’d question her judgement too. You’re right that’s lot of money for such a small organization, not to mention a non-profit.”—ollyator
“NTA. Why pay thousands of dollars to address a problem that hasn’t surfaced instead of on feeding the hungry during a time when that’s desperately needed?”—Clarisse1984
“NTA – She brought an idea, you said no.”
“Should have been end of interaction, but she decided to push the issue. For a 10 person company even $500 sounds like $500 too much to me.”
“Simple solution IMO (in my opinion): ‘You want diversity training, fine, you do it. You’ll have 30 minutes to give your diversity presentation after _X_ meeting two weeks from now.'”—Sneaky__Fox85
Some were even suspicious of the employee’s motivations.
“Yeahhhh….with that price tag, I’d be wondering whether she was somehow connected to the company that she was pitching they hire to do the training.”—icecreampenis
“NTA, I wonder if she’s involved with the company doing the training and will get a cut if you pay for it?”—RLB406
“Yeah it sounded like she was going to get a pay-out for referring a new client.”—MadnessEvangelist
But many criticized the OP for how he went about things.
“Your reason for shutting the idea down was fine. You can easily do the training in a more cost affective way the way you described.”
“But YTA for speaking to your employee like that. From your post you sounded condescending.”
“If you’re a manager learn to be a leader. Leaders don’t talk down to their team.”—MicAdelie
“I do think you were rude to your employee, although I ultimately agree with your decision.”
“With everything going on surrounding race right now, I think your employee was likely feeling helpless in the face of overwhelming systemic forces and she wanted to feel like she was doing something about it.”