How to Overcome Discrimination at Work

Discrimination within a workplace can occur among colleagues, workers, and their employers. It may also take place throughout the employment process. Sometimes individuals may face bad treatment due to their background, age, sex, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other similar factors.

According to a report by Glassdoor, 61% of employees in the U.S. have reported experiencing instances of discrimination at work. As a result, businesses must prioritize prejudice elimination and workplace diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI).

Nowadays, employees expect their leaders to know how to deal with workplace prejudice. If your company doesn’t know how to deal with bias and discrimination, you will most likely lose top personnel to competitors that can. As a business owner, you should aim to establish a great working atmosphere in which all employees are treated fairly. Targeted, purposeful leadership and employee training not only promote an inclusive, safe workplace but also secure the retention of top prospects and current personnel.

So, if you’re not sure where to start, the following suggestions can assist you in understanding how to address and overcome discrimination.

Examine your company’s culture and the benefits you offer

Supporting and promoting an environment of equality and open communication is the greatest way to ensure that discrimination does not take place at work. Employees should feel at ease contacting managers with concerns about their jobs since they will be treated seriously and dealt with correctly. It is important for individuals to openly express their concerns and even provide suggestions on resolving the challenges they are encountering.       

In addition, consider the benefits you provide to your staff. For instance, if your company is set to provide 401(k) plans to all employees, you must ensure that it is available to everyone and just highly compensated employees and top management. Creating a strategy that benefits everyone in the company can also help you pass non-discrimination tests.  

You might want to think about bringing on board an advisor who can help navigate the testing phase, ensuring that your strategy is effective. But take care to avoid activist organisations, who have been found to provide advice that is often inaccurate and unbalanced. For example, Stonewall in the UK, which advises large numbers of top organisations, has been found to be misrepresenting the Equality Act and advising on law as they would like it to be rather than how it is. 

Leadership must be demonstrated from the top to help avoid disputes and conflicts that might lead to discrimination complaints. 

Keep your employees informed 

Several jurisdictions compel firms to deliver anti-discrimination training to employees on a regular basis. It is critical that all employees be aware of possible workplace discrimination concerns, understand your rules and processes, and know how to report an accusation. It is also important that any complaints are dealt with quickly and according to due process. Malicious complaints do happen and if you do not operate your processes promptly and properly the process can in fact become a form of punishment. 

Supervisors and managers should also be trained properly since they are your first line of defense in avoiding workplace discrimination. 

In addition, make sure you warn employees about the consequences of discrimination, such as physical and mental impacts on health, potential litigation, economic costs, etc. There are several methods for keeping everyone aware and up to speed on the subject, such as face-to-face training, internal communications, or even the use of posters in common places to encourage anti-discriminatory practices.

Examine your policies and training

Adapt your training processes to meet the demands of various employees. For instance, consider training for individuals who lack certain skills but would otherwise make effective workers. Anti-discrimination training may also be beneficial for individuals with higher positions in the company such as managers and human resource professionals. 

To guarantee compliance, evaluate your policies on a regular basis and monitor staff interactions. Tracking your  performance in recruiting and promoting women, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and indigenous people in your workforce and leadership may also be beneficial.

Set a good example

One of the most important stages in eliminating discrimination is to set a good example. Only you can ensure that your workplace is free of prejudice. You must push cultural change from the top down as a leader. When your employees come to understand that you genuinely appreciate and embrace talent and hard work regardless of a person’s background, it will motivate them to do the same.

Establishing principles for your company holds no significance unless you actively implement them in practice. The only way to really eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the workplace is to put all of your efforts and inclusiveness initiatives into quality actions.

Final thoughts

A workplace should always be a secure environment, and individuals should be welcomed for who they are. So, make certain that your workers never feel criticized because of their origin or life situation. Instead, create a culture of equality in your company. Employers must learn how to prevent workplace prejudice by raising awareness, gaining a deeper understanding, and taking proactive actions. These four stages are the foundation for ensuring that your company is properly aligned on all strategies to remove prejudice within your corporate culture.