How to Prevent Discrimination in the Workplace

The employer is responsible for ensuring workplace discrimination does not occur in the work environment. A safe, inclusive space is what many organizations strive for. That said, occasionally, discrimination may present and how a company navigates it matters.

It’s important to know what discrimination is, the legal consequences of allowing it. Learn how to prevent workplace discrimination from occurring or being allowed to continue.

Define Workplace Discrimination

In your HR code, workplace discrimination should be identified more or less as treating someone less favourably due to their circumstances or personal characteristics, such as their race, age, gender, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, or otherwise.

Hire HR Consultants

A new or existing company would greatly benefit from hiring an HR consultant to guide anti-discrimination policies. An entrepreneur or manager may not be aware of all the different ways discrimination occurs.

A skilled HR consultant can help them create and carry out a policy that protects them.

Understand That Discrimination Can Be Small

Discrimination in the workplace can be big, along the lines of a termination, failure to hire, or denying a promotion. However, it can also be small, such as denying someone their preferred shifts, disparate discipline, and denial of responsibilities.

Be prepared to identify smaller misbehaviours, minor transgressions, and the larger, more obvious issues that can present.

Embrace Diversity In Your Hiring

Embrace a diverse work team. Don’t hesitate to hire people from different cultural backgrounds and to pair them together in teams. From differences in age, gender, race, and belief systems, much learning and acceptance can come from a purposefully diverse and skilled workforce.

Outline Your Anti-Discrimination Policy

An anti-discrimination policy defines discriminatory behaviours, outlines the process for investigating and documenting complaints, and identifies measures to be taken for workplace discrimination.

Ensure There Is No Tolerance for Discrimination

Train and educate your business leaders on workplace discrimination. When an incident is reported, handle it quickly and efficiently. Communicate to employees that you handle such matters promptly and professionally. Ensure your staff is properly trained on what is expected of them about conduct.

Help Employees Understand Their Rights

Employees should feel encouraged to come forth with concerns or issues relating to discrimination in the workplace. Provide employees with a way to submit complaints and be active and visible with your support of a confident, engaged, and productive workforce free from discrimination.

Ensure No Retaliation for Coming Forward

Ensure there is no retaliation for an employee reporting an illegal, illicit, unsafe, or fraudulent work incident. Every employee deserves a safe, healthy work environment. An employer or authority should not take adverse action against an employee in retaliation, even in subtle ways.

Evaluate Your Salary Structures Between Genders

It is illegal to pay men and women different salaries based on their gender. Ensure you look at your salary structures to ensure that this has not accidentally transpired and, if it has, resolve it immediately. This applies to everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy status.

Learn About Legal Obligations for Accommodations

Ensure you know your obligations to making your workplace accessible to all, including ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to the space, that schedules can be adapted for employees of different backgrounds, and more.

Speak with Community Groups

To expand your hiring and improve diversity, seek input from relevant community groups. Promote job openings with non-profit placement agencies with specific demographics, such as new immigrants or older workers. This may also help you target relevant expertise, language skills, and more, finding candidates you may not otherwise find.

Review Hiring Processes for Biases

Hiring, unintentionally, can be biased and discriminatory against candidates with unfamiliar names, gaps in work history, and foreign credentials. Many organizations adopt blind recruitment, entrust hiring to a multi-person panel, and use other strategies to ensure a more diverse hiring scheme.

Carefully Monitor Discrimination-Related Humour

Some use humour as an excuse to discriminate, crafting culturally offensive jokes or jokes based on a person’s race, gender, age, or other characteristics. Even a light-hearted comment can prove problematic. Ensure that your work team knows this.

Have More Than One Reporting Option

Employees should have multiple ways to report discrimination. This could be done anonymously or identified, either by email, letters, face-to-face interaction, or however. It is crucial to make submitting a complaint as easy as one can.

Document Every Move and Every Complaint

If someone is fired, promoted or not promoted, or if the hierarchy at work changes, document why. If a complaint is submitted, document how it is handled. Ensure there is paperwork to support your organization’s management, even in the event of a lawsuit.

Send Out Annual Surveys

An annual employee survey can tackle various issues, including how many have seen and experienced workplace harassment and discrimination. Consider having a year-end survey to get anonymous answers about how well your organization upholds its anti-discrimination policy.

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