How This Founder Is Using Tech To Help People From Marginalized Groups Share Their Workplace Experiences
This article was originally published on 07/05/2019
When job hunting, people often scour the internet for reviews of companies they’re applying for. After all, you want to know as much as you can about the company you’re going to be working for. That quest is especially important for members of marginalized communities.
The United States has a long history of workplace discrimination across industries. In 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received over 84,000 workplace discrimination charges. Topping the list were workplace retaliation claims (48.8 percent) followed by discrimination based on race (33.9 percent), disability (31.9 percent), and sex (30.4 percent).
Unfortunately, not all stories around workplace discrimination make it to the EEOC or the courts. Luckily, sites like Justus are shifting the way people can collect and share important workplace information.
Earlier this year, Elyse Bush launched Justus to give marginalized affinity groups — including women, people of color, disabled people, and the LGBTQ+ community — space to anonymously review their current or former employers.
The company decided to use the language of affinity groups because it reminded them of colleagues and the workplace. Affinity groups are a way of referring to people who have common interests or purposes.
“People who share common or similar experiences within their workplaces are naturally bonded together through those episodes which is why we choose to call groups on our platform ‘affinity groups,'” Bush explained.
Bush was motivated to launch Justus due to her own experiences. After graduating, Bush was thrown into the professional world where she held a variety of roles — from Business Development Analyst to Program Manager and more.
“Despite changing my roles, I kept encountering a company culture problem with roots in diversity and inclusion,” Bush said. “I have had experiences that made me want to share feedback with my managers however, for fear of retaliation, I held back. As I remarked on this issue to my colleagues, I discovered that many people who fall within those marginalized affinity groups experience similar sentiments, and instead of sharing their insights they decide to leave their jobs.”
Bush describes Justus as similar to Glassdoor, but its focus is on marginalized people. That’s clear not only through the affinity groups Justus has chosen to represent but also because the company aims to protect users by keeping all reviews anonymous.
Establishing the company required a little help from family too. When picking names, Bush and her team were trying to think of something that incorporated three of their key pillars: transparency, inclusion, and equity. It was actually Bush’s mom who suggested “Justus.”
The name is partially a spin on the word “justice,” but there’s a deeper meaning to it.
“Justus is something that a friend might tell you when trying to get you to open up to them, ‘It’s just us talking.’ That’s also the sentiment that we want to share with our Justus Community, the platform is for marginalized affinity groups by marginalized affinity groups,” Bush said.
Justus’ site is fairly straightforward for individuals to use, but it also has benefits for companies too. Companies who share the platform with their employees receive access to an “Advice to Management” section that features constructive anonymous feedback from their employees.