Workplace discrimination can be a sensitive subject for a company and its people, but it’s a very critical one to pay attention to. It’s pretty common to hear pieces of advice regarding how employees should watch out for themselves and report signs of workplace inequality or biases. However, it is also an employer’s job to ensure that every staff member is treated equally and fairly.
Employee discrimination can include prejudices related to race, sexuality, religion, gender, and even disability and maternity. To guide you in handling or reducing discrimination in your workplace, here are strategies you can consider.
Learn about the discrimination laws
Before you can even address this topic in your company, understand what discrimination means in practical and legal operations. Study the local laws you want to apply to your company policies. The laws vary at the city, territorial, state, and federal levels, so review what applies to your business location. To ease the effort, you can speak with an employment attorney aware of the regional laws. They can help you understand the required practical considerations and legal language.
Create an anti-discrimination policy
Following your consultation with an employment lawyer, review relevant legal documentation for your business records. Make sure that you meet every requirement and that every employee knows about them. Build an inclusive work environment that aims to fight off discrimination by building policies around it. From your company’s work-related decisions to day-to-day activities, employees should be treated equally.
This can also include processes such as allocating tasks, promotion, training, and of course, recruitment. If you want to create a welcoming work environment for talents, it’s necessary to adopt anti-discrimination policies. In general, a policy must clearly define the discriminatory actions and the process for filing, documenting, and investigating complaints.
Be proactive and take action
In connection with your organization’s policies, ensure that they do not conflict with certain groups. For instance, putting out a policy that requires employees to have a clean cut might discriminate against employees with long hair for religious purposes. At the same time, watch out for predatory managers with harassment acts and pass by with excuses like they don’t mean it or it’s just banter. With that in mind, you must implement discriminatory procedures and actively promote inclusion and equality.
If you notice signs of discrimination, take the appropriate actions. You can try to handle it within your management or choose to seek an employment mediator. These experts can help with the negotiation process and aim for settlement. Get rid of any rules that may lead to unfavorable mistreatment of groups or create unintentional bias. Being proactive and watchful of unconscious biases, and don’t let them dictate your working environment.
Offer anti-discrimination training
The next thing you need to do is plan out and create mandatory anti-discrimination training to help your people understand everything about the subject. The training should highlight any new policies around discrimination in both practical and legal terms, the motivations and goals in preventing discrimination, and the process of addressing unconscious biases or unintentional discrimination.
You can build your training sessions with a combination of peer-to-peer learning that includes round table discussions and micro-learning that promotes on-demand and bite-sized sessions. Properly communicate the importance of these training sessions and provide them with the tools they need to avoid workplace discrimination.
Look into hiring biases
The last thing you need to look into is your company’s hiring process. It is pretty common for companies to have biases when hiring talents with foreign credentials, gaps in work history, and even as silly as having unfamiliar names. To address such concerns, you can consider implementing a blind recruitment wherein any identifying details from the candidates’ resumes will be removed.
Furthermore, instead of trusting the hiring to a single individual, consider forming a panel to make the decision. Make sure the team understands the international credentials and non-traditional resumes.
Discrimination in the workplace can happen intentionally or unintentionally and may occur between employees and employers or solely employees. And as an employer, it is your responsibility to see to it that everyone within your company is treated fairly. Incorporate these techniques into your culture and practices and encourage the elimination of workplace discrimination.