How Can an Employer Prevent Discrimination in the Workplace?

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Organisations and HR departments of all sizes have made it a top priority to identify and prevent workplace discrimination. This topic applies to large and small businesses and corporations with hundreds of employees.

It is not just a legal requirement to prevent workplace discrimination. Still, it has direct positive and negative consequences for the wellbeing and success of your employees and your company.

So, we’ll discuss workplace discrimination in detail and show you how to stop it in your company.


What Does Workplace Discrimination Mean?

Workplace discrimination is when someone or a group of people are treated unfairly or inequitably because of specific characteristics. These protected characteristics include race, ethnicity and gender identity.

They also include age, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, national origin, and sexual orientation. Discrimination can occur between co-workers, job applicants, employees, and employers. Discrimination is illegal, whether intentional or accidental.


Are There Types of Workplace Discrimination?

It is essential to distinguish between workplace discrimination and employment discrimination. Both terms are rooted in the same principles but manifest differently in an employee lifecycle.

  • Workplace discrimination is the unfair or different treatment of employees. This means workplace discrimination refers to unfair or different treatment of employees that work for a company or business by their colleagues or superiors during work hours.
  • Employment discrimination is the unfair or different treatment given to candidates during the hiring process. This could include candidates being disqualified or qualified based on their protected characteristics, physical appearance, or religion, intentionally or not.

Discrimination in any form refers to a person being mistreated because of their race, religion or ethnicity or other protected characteristics, which differ in various jurisdictions. This kind of discrimination could land your company in serious trouble when it is discovered.


How Can an Employer Prevent Workplace Discrimination?

When working with business leaders to create a plan to prevent workplace discrimination, these are some of the things we recommend.


Implement a Company-Wide Policy

The first step for eliminating workplace discrimination is implementing a company-wide written policy that defines rules and procedures. Every employee should be provided with a copy of the policy on discrimination and sign an acknowledgement that they understand it. The policy should address a wide range of discriminatory acts. It should also include a protocol detailing how discrimination complaints are handled and resolved.


Implement a Standardised Process for Resolving Discrimination

It is crucial to resolve discrimination issues quickly and fairly. A lingering workplace discrimination problem can cause your business to lose credibility and trust with employees even if your company is not in legal trouble.

In addition, you expect everyone to be treated equally and with the same standards regarding discrimination if you are consistent in your approach to resolving issues.

Finally, although there is no ‘right’ way to deal with workplace discrimination, you must establish a process that suits your company’s structure, size, and resources.


Educate Team Members On Their Part in Preventing Discrimination

Most businesses don’t think that more than addressing this issue in the employee handbook or onboarding process is required. However, in various jurisdictions, employers must conduct anti-discrimination training regularly.

It doesn’t matter if you are required to do so or if you just want to take a proactive approach to avoid discrimination; your employees must be well-informed about your policies and procedures. Also, make sure they know how to report any allegations. You should also create a program for managers and supervisors, which can be your first line of defence against workplace discrimination.


A Discrimination-Free Workplace is a Healthy Workplace

It is challenging to create a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. Employers may view a good salary and other financial benefits as the most motivating factor for employees. However, creating a positive and supportive environment is crucial if you want happy and productive employees.

In a nutshell, you can prevent discrimination by following these points:

  • All your employees should be educated and trained about discrimination.
  • Business leaders, supervisors and managers should be trained to respond to workplace discrimination.
  • Handle discrimination complaints confidentially, with care and due process.
  • Create a workplace policy that prohibits discrimination.
  • Make sure your workplace policy is clearly defined and implemented.
  • Regularly review your organisation’s policies in line with ever-evolving legislation.


Final Words

Employers and small businesses are increasingly concerned about workplace discrimination. Everyone – from CEOs of major corporations to small business owners – is today more committed to eliminating workplace discrimination. But, while there are laws that can be put in place to prevent discrimination at work, many business leaders have questions about discrimination.

With this article, you’ll make a significant step towards ensuring a happy, productive workforce willing to help and increase your profits. Preventing discrimination will also save you from lengthy and complicated investigations, a negative impact on your company’s culture and morale, reputational damage, and high legal costs.

At HR Team, we treat discrimination prevention as an essential HR task and offer our expertise to consult and eliminate intentional and accidental discrimination against employees. Feel free to contact us for more information on preventing and handling discrimination claims at work.

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