How Can You Prevent Workplace Discrimination?

Workplace discrimination has become one of the most talked-about HR-related topics for employers. Discrimination lawsuits have doubled during the #MeToo era, pointing out the need for change in the workplace and comprehensive coverage, such as CT EPLI, which protects companies in the middle of legal matters related to discrimination.

More than ever, businesses need to review their policies and focus on education and training about respect in the work environment. And while there are laws in place to help prevent workplace discrimination, many business leaders are still stuck with significant questions about discrimination and workplace harassment.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be done to prevent this kind of behavior and these kinds of claims. With that in mind, let’s look at workplace discrimination and how it can be stopped before it starts.

What is Workplace Discrimination?

Discrimination is defined as treating someone or a group of people less favorably than others due to their circumstances or personal characteristics. It is both direct and indirect, and sometimes the person or people responsible for the discrimination might not know they mistreated someone. Examples include not hiring someone due to their religion or passing over an employee for a promotion due to their gender. Discrimination is a wide-ranging issue.

Business owners have legal responsibilities to protect their employees from discrimination, no matter where it comes from, and no matter what form it takes.

How to Prevent Workplace Discrimination

While a goal of completely ridding the workplace of discrimination may be lofty, doing what needs to be done to limit discrimination and keep everyone informed can be done today. First, businesses should develop a written policy that outlines rules and procedures—creating a clearly-written policy aids in preventing discrimination from the start and lays out the law in writing.

This is another reason why businesses need to have employee handbooks. Handbooks should include a policy on discrimination that every employee receives. This policy should cover a broad range of potential discriminatory acts and include a set of rules and protocols that outline how complaints are submitted, handled, and resolved.

Next, businesses should establish a consistent process for resolving these issues. Taking care of things efficiently and effectively is essential even if a company isn’t in significant legal jeopardy. If overlooked, a lingering workplace discrimination issue can get out of hand and lead to a major lawsuit and a loss of trust form employees. Having consistency in how these claims are addressed and resolved shows that a business expects everyone to be treated fairly and by the same standards.

Continuing Education is Key

It’s also important to note that while it’s crucial to have a policy in writing, it’s just as important to continue to inform workers of the topic of workplace discrimination. For most companies, addressing the issue in the employee handbook and onboarding process won’t suffice.

Some state laws require employers to conduct training programs regularly. Whether a business is required by law or wants to be proactive in preventing these issues, it’s vital to ensure that employees are made aware of the policies and procedures in place and know how to report these problems.

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