The term blackball has been popularised by the society of Ancient Athens when they used a secret ballot to get rid of a particular candidate who was known to have a bad image in the public’s eyes. Since then, blackballing has been used widely by a member of clubs, fraternities, and society like freemasonry to exclude certain individuals from joining the group. Blackballing is often seen as a dark and dangerous act because regardless of how many people vote yes, a single no from an anonymous person can reject the said person from joining a team. What makes it dangerous is that the rule can neither be avoided nor renewed.
The practice of blackballing in the workplace take various forms; from discrimination to termination of employment. William Groden explained that the evilest practice of blackballing is when past employers prevent you from getting a job in the future by blacklisting you.
To illustrate, your manager sees you as a threat just because you always do your task perfectly that he believes you might replace him being a leader in the future. Owing to this perception, the manager treats you differently from the rest of the team and even threatens to fire you. Feeling discriminated, you complain to the CEO. Unfortunately, since the CEO is your manager’s best friend, he does nothing to prevent the manager from terminating you, believing that the manager is right about his decision. At the end of the day, you feel that the company is a toxic workplace to work, thus, you sign in the termination letter and start seeking new employment.
Now being unemployed, you want to land a new job immediately. But alas, despite having gone to couples interviews, no company seems interested in hiring you. Curious, you find out the reason why and finally find out that your former employer has blacklisted you – no wonder, you have a bad image on the talent market. Since every time a prospective employer does a background check and referral check, they will find your name in a red line which is a bad sign for employers to hire you. So, this is how workplace blackballing is dangerous for your professional life.
The practice of blackballing is a prime form of eliminationist behaviour. It is awfully hard to detect and trace because it typically occurs under the cloak of confidentiality and private communication. You might not know the real reason but accepting the truth of being blackballed.
The first thing you should do is to identify whether you are the victim of blackballing. Here are common practices and signs of blackballing.
Note: To know if you are being blacklisted, you can do some kind of a test by calling your past employer, posing as a potential employer and see how past employer sees you. Or, you can identify from your current job application and interview, if you do good in your interview but the recruiter turns cold and formal afterwards, chances are, you are being blacklisted.
If you are likely to be blacklisted, you need to seek employment somewhere else with some notes.