Workplace discrimination has emerged as one of the most critical issues facing employers and small businesses today. It can take many forms, including discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, or national origin.
Discrimination in the workplace can have a negative impact on employee morale and productivity, as well as create legal liability for the employer. Given the potential consequences, it is crucial for employers to take steps to prevent workplace discrimination.
There are a number of things employers can do to prevent workplace discrimination:
Table of Contents
- 1. Educate All Your Workers About Discrimination
- 2. Encourage Workers to Respect Cultural and Racial Differences in The Workplace
- 3. Develop and Implement Policies Prohibiting Discrimination in The Workplace
- 4. Encourage Employees to Report Any Incidents of Discrimination
- 5. Establish A Consistent Process For Resolving Discrimination Issues
- 6. Train Supervisors And Managers On How To Respond To Discrimination In The Workplace
- 7. Address Workplace Discrimination Promptly and Effectively
- 8. Review The Workplace Discrimination Policies On A Regular Basis
- 9. Continually Educate Employees On Their Role In Preventing Discrimination
1. Educate All Your Workers About Discrimination
You need to ensure that all your employees are aware of what discrimination is and what the consequences can be.
Let them know workplace discrimination includes any action or decision that treats someone unfairly because of a protected characteristic. As it can happen even if the person didn’t intend to discriminate.
Protected characteristics under anti-discrimination laws include race, religion, national origin, gender, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, and disability.
Make sure your employees know that workplace discrimination can take many forms, such as:
- Refuse to hire someone because of a protected characteristic
- Segregated job assignments
- Unequal pay or benefits
- Promoting or demoting someone based on a protected characteristic
- Harassing someone because of a protected characteristic
2. Encourage Workers to Respect Cultural and Racial Differences in The Workplace
Another key to preventing workplace discrimination is to create an environment of respect for cultural and racial differences. Employers should make a point of celebrating the diversity of their workforce and promoting an inclusive culture.
One way to do this is to provide training on cultural competency and sensitivity. This can help employees understand and appreciate the different backgrounds and perspectives of their co-workers.
3. Develop and Implement Policies Prohibiting Discrimination in The Workplace
You need to develop policies that expressly prohibit it. These policies should be included in the employee handbook and posted in a conspicuous place at the workplace.
The policies should make clear that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
4. Encourage Employees to Report Any Incidents of Discrimination
Workplace discrimination can take many forms, from obvious harassment to more subtle forms of bias. That’s why it’s important to encourage employees to report any incidents of discrimination, whether they’re the victim or witness.
An effective reporting system should be easily accessible and confidential, so that employees feel comfortable coming forward. You may want to consider using an anonymous reporting system, such as a call or message.
5. Establish A Consistent Process For Resolving Discrimination Issues
If an employee does experience workplace discrimination, it is important to have a consistent process for addressing the issue. This process should be well-publicized and easy to understand.
6. Train Supervisors And Managers On How To Respond To Discrimination In The Workplace
Supervisors and managers play a critical role in preventing and addressing workplace discrimination. They should be trained on the policies prohibiting discrimination and how to respond to reports of discrimination.
This training should include how to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all reports of discrimination. It should also cover how to provide support to the victim of discrimination.
7. Address Workplace Discrimination Promptly and Effectively
When workplace discrimination is reported, employers should take prompt and effective action to address the issue. This may include disciplining the offender, up to and including termination.
It is also important to provide support to the victim of discrimination. This may include counseling or other assistance.
8. Review The Workplace Discrimination Policies On A Regular Basis
Policies prohibiting workplace discrimination should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are up-to-date and effective. This review should be conducted by human resources or another designated department.
The policies should be updated as needed to reflect changes in the law or the workplace. They should also be reviewed in light of any incidents of workplace discrimination that have occurred.
9. Continually Educate Employees On Their Role In Preventing Discrimination
Further, employers should continually educate employees on their role in preventing workplace discrimination. The goal of this education is to help employees understand what workplace discrimination is and how they can prevent it.