Discrimination, if not addressed, can be pervasive in the workplace. If a business owner doesn’t take the necessary measures to solve and prevent discrimination they could lose valuable employees, deter professionals from getting involved with the organization and damaging the organization’s reputation, which can lead to a loss of present and future clients. If you’re not sure how to find discrimination and how to stop it, here are a few tips:
Recognize the signs
Discrimination is the act of treating someone unfairly – or less favorably – due to their differing circumstances. This can include, but is not limited to, treating someone different due to their sex; age; impairments or disabilities; religious beliefs; or sexual orientation. Discriminating behavior isn’t just exclusive to workers. Employers and manages can also be discriminatory through such actions as paying certain employees less than others in similar job roles due to their personal characteristics or distributing workloads unfairly.
Discrimination is usually quite easy to spot as long as you keep an eye on what’s going on in your business and have open communication with your employees.
Make sure your employees are fully informed about their rights and the characteristics of discriminatory behavior. Include information about appropriate and inappropriate behavior in your employee handbook and discuss the laws with your new employees. If discrimination has already invaded your workplace you could also consider conducting seminars and workshops for your employees to keep them informed and aware. Your employees should be made fully aware of their rights and the rights of others in the workplace.
Build relationships and open communication
Communication is the key to catching offensive behavior before it becomes a severe issue. It is important that you, as an employer, have an open dialogue with the managers and employees within your organization. Managers may be more aware of potential discriminatory behavior that you can prevent and employees should be able to speak openly with you or their managers about their grievances. Provide your employees with a platform to speak openly and safely about their issues.
Building healthy relationships within your organization can help in the effort to deter discriminatory behavior and reduce tension between employees. Organizing social activities and philanthropic within your organization can encourage employees to make friends with their co-workers and highlight the diversity of your work force. It can also help managers introduce themselves to other employees on a more personal level and prevent a hierarchical dynamic that could be potentially alienating.
Tackle the problem
If someone comes to you with a claim you should always approach it with an open mind and take it seriously. Victimisation is a form of discrimination so you should always be sincere and attentive when approaching an accusation. You should be prepared to investigate the complaint as soon as it’s made. With most complaints it is customary to hire HR consultants from HR services like Park City who can provide expert knowledge in managing grievances, mediating conflicts and advising employers on appropriate disciplinary measures. If the claims you’re facing are severe, you also have the option of hiring a third part investigator who can collect the necessary information needed to make accurate decisions. During these investigations it is important that you maintain confidentiality and discretion. The information of the investigation should be limited to a ‘need to know’ basis. The parties involved should also be aware of and adhere to this and no action should be taken to punish the accused employee or employees until all the information has been collected and collated.
Also published on Medium.