TMCnet Feature
June 09, 2020

How to Avoid Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination has been a hot topic in recent years, and that topic is only getting hotter as time passes.  Unfortunately, you can’t control how every employee acts, or else this wouldn’t still be an issue.  Luckily, there are some steps you can take to ensure your company avoids taking any missteps.

Carefully Vet Employees

This would be easier to do if the process was started at the time the company was started- but in moving forward it’s important to keep it in mind.  When contacting previous employers, ask about how the employee interacted with other employees.  Pay attention to anything troubling on their background check, and take the time needed so that your employees will be protected with any new staff that’s brought in.

Open The Door To Discussion

Tell the employees that their voices are heard, and let them know you’re open to any discussion.  Don’t talk over them, don’t try to just ignore them because it’s easier- listen to these employees and take the time you need to resolve any current tensions.  If there are employees that already are showing a track record, it might not be time for them to still be with your company.

If someone has a complaint, it’s your company’s job to listen and enforce a proper status quo.

Make Clear Rules

Although we all get a different clear image of what discrimination is, there are multiple kinds that affect multiple types of people.  From sexism and racism, to the hating on elderly people that causes horrible age discrimination stats, a lot of people are disrespected in highly inappropriate ways.  These people deserve respect.

Make clear rules, send these in emails, post them in the break room, and hold meetings if your company has the resources.

The more you spread these rules and guidelines, the fewer excuses your employees will have to break them.  You may get some push back initially, which is why you need to move into the next step.

Layout Clear Punishments

Nobody will abide by the rules if they seem empty.  Make clear punishments for those who don’t follow the rules.  This can mean losing bonuses, taking away perks, or even demoting people for their first or second mistake.  Firing should happen after more than one rule breakage- or if their act was so severe that there’s no way to retrain the employee.  Let your employees know they will be held accountable for their actions.

Follow Through

Actually dole out the punishments that you laid out to your employees.  If they break a rule, lay out a punishment.  Don’t let people get off free the first time, and don’t let them try to talk you out of making note of it.  If someone is fired because of their behavior, and a future employer calls the office, make it clear why they were fired.

The point is to protect people from being assaulted or hurt- a workplace should be a place where people can focus on their jobs.  Take away distraction like harassment, and they’ll be able to do their jobs even better.

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