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You would be different
You have always wanted to be different than others. When you started your career, you observed the different types of discrimination around you. Maybe sometimes, you were also the victim of such biases. You decided then, if you ever had the opportunity to manage a firm, your workplace will be different. You will strive to make a friendly environment where everyone feels valued and is respected. And above all else, you will ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
Banter or Insult?
Discrimination in the workplace is one of the hottest HR-related topics. From small businesses to the top-class fortune 500 companies, everyone is committed to reducing – if not ending – workplace favoritism. We may not see it, and sometimes not even realize its presence, but it is still there. It can be in the form of a person being ignored for an opportunity. Or even a comment by a coworker, the intention of which was only banter. You realize that, but how can you prevent it from ever happening?
What is workplace discrimination?
Before we get into how to prevent discrimination, we need to know what workplace discrimination is. In general, it means to treat a person or a group less favorably than others. It can be due to their race, personal characteristics, or circumstantial reasons such as those of political reasons.
Workplace discrimination can be categorized into two types, direct and indirect. If it is direct, it can be in the form of hiring a new employee based on religion. And if it is indirect, it means mandating requirements that put a certain group of people at a disadvantage. For example, a business may be advertising their job for people with experience of more than 10 years. It is indirect discrimination against younger people who have the knowledge and skills but still cannot apply.
How to prevent discrimination?
Nobody likes any type of discrimination in the workspace. Besides the legality issues you want to prevent it because it is just unethical. Here’s what you can do to prevent it:
1. Promulgate a written policy.
Develop a well-written policy for your company about discrimination. Clearly define rules, regulations, and procedures that handle such issues. Preventing discrimination is one of the main reasons for developing an employee handbook. Every employee should be provided this book and you can also ask them to sign an acknowledgment of receiving.
2. Quick Resolution
It is imperative that the issues be resolved instantaneously, even if there is no looming threat of a lawsuit. Otherwise, you would lose the trust and credibility of your employees. Steadiness in solving discriminatory matters warrants that you expect everyone to be treated fairly.
3. Education and Awareness
Sometimes, an employee handbook is not enough. Training programs and seminars are also necessary. It is important that your employees know what counts as discrimination. Moreover, you empower the potential victims by making them aware of their rights. And how they can go on to asking them if they are not provided.
4. Diversifying the Workspace
Mix-up your workplace with employees of different ethnicity. One: It would prevent discrimination by reducing the majority that might unintentionally gang up on the minority. And two: it will attract a variety of customers. Since they would feel more comfortable approaching the person they can relate most to.
5. Speak, Listen, and Communicate
If you feel being victimized, raise your concerns. You can directly talk to the person, or you can also approach your boss or HR. Let people know what you think is appropriate and what is not. Remember, people treat you as you allow them to. If you won’t let them know what is offensive how would they stop?
Striving for a Pleasant Workplace
Sometimes, you might not even realize it but the comment you made in banter might have offended the other person. No doubt, it wasn’t your intention. But if they do raise their concern, listen. Be the bigger person and apologize if they felt hurt. You can also ask them what they considered to be inappropriate, so you know if and what was wrong. Nonetheless, discrimination in the workplace is real and we should avoid it. The focus should be on completing the job appropriately in a pleasant and enjoyable workplace.