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Promoting Respect and Civility in the Workplace: What the Super Bowl Halftime Show Can Teach Us About Diversity

Sunday night, more than 100 million viewers tuned in to watch Super Bowl 50, which included halftime performances by Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars. In the aftermath of the halftime show, there have been flurries of articles analyzing whether Coldplay and Beyonce provided more than just an entertaining performance. Specifically, many news outlets recognized the significance of Beyonce’s newest single, “Formation,” as a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement, with lyrics challenging the racism still present in America. Still others speculated that Coldplay front man, Chris Martin’s, decision to sing to a member of the crowd waving a rainbow flag, and his rainbow-colored message at the end of “Believe in Love” were appeals for the acceptance and appreciation of love among individuals of all colors, genders, and identities.

50 Yard Line

Football, and the Super Bowl in particular, are American traditions and the inevitable subjects of water cooler discussions. Regardless of whether the halftime messages were intentional or not, this year’s Super Bowl halftime show can provide an important platform for a more in-depth discussion about the love and acceptance of humankind, regardless of color, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.  As you and your co-workers re-cap the Super Bowl’s most memorable moments, you should keep in mind the following tips for promoting a diverse and respectful workplace:

  1. Encourage an environment where all opinions are respected.
  2. Promptly address conflicts that are brought to your attention.
  3. Review and adhere to anti-discrimination procedures outlined in the company’s employee handbook.
  4. Be supportive of your co-workers in both internal and external communications. This includes posts on social media!
  5. Appreciate the value inherent in a diversity of opinions; different insights often help shape the most productive workplaces.

Of course, there are often situations where there is not a clear-cut answer. When you’re unsure how to proceed, seek guidance from legal counsel. Siegel & Dolan has been advising executives about the nuances of employment law and workplace conflict for years. To speak to an attorney about your, individual situation, call our offices at (312) 878-3210.