While it is very evident that the global community is becoming more and more progressive throughout the years, we still have plenty of work to do to fully achieve equality. Numerous people still fall victim to bullying, harassment, and discrimination. This is especially prevalent in places that sustain competitive environments such as schools and workplaces.
If you are running a business of your own, it is extremely important for you to foster a discrimination–free workplace and to ensure that your employees' rights are protected at all times. Your people are the backbone of your organization, so it's necessary to prioritize their safety and well-being.
In this article, we will discuss how you can successfully promote a culture of equality and diversity in the workplace.
Workplace discrimination is a persisting issue that many employers and employees face each day. It primarily involves treating a person unjustly or expressing illogical hate towards that individual. Discrimination can come in many forms and can be motivated by prejudices in various aspects such as race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender, or physical appearance.
Discriminatory acts can make employees feel threatened, unsafe, and uncomfortable, which can affect their performance and even damage the company's reputation. Hence, all employers must be responsible and actively address any issues involving discriminatory practices. Moreover, employers are mandated by law to protect their staff from workplace discrimination.
Here are several ways to effectively prevent discrimination in the workplace:
Solidify the Rules and Regulations
Establishing well-defined rules and guidelines is a highly crucial step in preventing workplace discrimination. Companies of all sizes should have a detailed employee handbook, which clearly explains and states rules for issues like tardiness or excessive absenteeism as well as benefits that your employees are entitled to.
Every hired employee should have a copy of this handbook along with their signature as proof of receipt so they can be held accountable for any violation. Being well-informed of the rules also gives them protection, as they will know when their rights are being threatened by a colleague or senior worker, or when they are being punished excessively for certain offenses.
Cover All Discriminatory Acts
You must keep in mind that discrimination is not limited to racism. As previously stated, it can be grounded on prejudices in gender, religion, physical appearance, disabilities, and the like. The written policy should cover all sorts of potential discriminatory acts.
To give you an example, an anti-discrimination policy statement should be written like this: “The policy of our company to provide a safe, healthy work environment, free from discrimination and harassment against any person based on race, color, religion, sex, age, gender, disability, and marital status is strictly implemented, anyone who fails to abide will result in to immediate termination of contract.”
Set the Complaint Guidelines and Procedures
As the anti-discrimination policy is being strictly implemented, be sure that you have also clearly set the process that your employees need to follow if they want to file a complaint. The steps should be communicated to your staff so they will be aware of how discrimination complaints are being handled, from the initial investigation to the application of an appropriate course of disciplinary action.
Conduct Comprehensive Team Training Sessions
Having well-written policies is not enough. It's also important to educate your employees about the subject matter. To ensure that everyone understands the gravity and significance of the policies, it's best to hold training workshops or programs on discrimination or harassment.
By doing so, you can shed light on the topic and even discredit some common misconceptions about discrimination. You may also conduct team-building events that encourage interaction among your employees, so they can form positive working relationships and understand each other better.
Review Everything After the Training
After every training session, take the time to review the company policies on discrimination. Plus, make sure to keep a record of the training and the discussion. It's critical to document everything you do to prevent discrimination in case issues arise.
Consistency Is the Key
Remember, it is crucial to make sure that the managers or supervisors in your company can handle workplace discrimination complaints and allegations effectively and consistently. The protocols established in the employee manual are not just for the employees but also for the higher-ups to follow.
It’s also important to always maintain a fair and non-accusatory language when dealing with complaints. All complaints must also be taken seriously and given thorough and unbiased investigative actions.
To further improve the implementation of the rules, provide additional training to those who will be tasked with receiving and processing the complaints. Lastly, upholding consistency shows that you expect everyone in your company to be treated fairly under the standards of the anti-discrimination policies, which is critical for protecting you and your company legally.
If you need more information on workplace discrimination or proper guidance in creating the rules and regulations, you may consult HR professionals who have expertise on the subject.
Viridiana Valdes is an xperienced Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the law practice industry. Skilled in Business Process, Negotiation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Management, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Strong marketing professional with a Strategic Marketing focused in Marketing from Panamerican Consulting Group and Universidad Rafael Landivar