In our multicultural country filled with people from different age groups and social statuses, it is unfortunately unpreventable that discrimination is bound to happen. From primary school, hearing different races being called rude names; or young people saying the infamous ‘ok boomer’ line that is going around lately- this can and should be considered discrimination.
Discrimination is even more pertinent in the workplace, and tragically, even more dangerous and toxic. You might think that this is considered dramatic, but have you ever seen those rental signs or job vacancies that specify for a certain race, age, or gender only? We live in a world where you might get turned down for a place to live, or a career opportunity, simply because of factors that you cannot control.
Discrimination isn’t just a joke. It can cost a person everything.
While certain characteristics might be necessary in a job, there is a fine but clear line that runs between necessity and plain discrimination. As an employer, you may be taking in all this information lightly, because that’s a part of life, right? However, let’s get thing’s straight- a job should and must be given to someone who is qualified and not someone who is more ‘your type’.
With that being said, here are some steps all employers can take to reduce workplace discrimination. While these steps are our top tips, you as an employer should be taking whatever steps that work best for you to eliminate the chances of discrimination at work, from hiring all the way to firing (or hopefully, retirement)!
- Have a company culture and enforce it
In some offices, you might notice slogans or mottos which are placed in clear places to remind both employers and employees what the company believes in. Aside from core values like transparency and respect, consider adding acceptance to your list!
Adding acceptance, or eliminating discrimination from your list of values not only reminds employees to treat each other well, but also reminds you to put aside your prejudices in order to look at a person’s work ethic, which is where an employee’s true worth lies.
- Create a company handbook
Some companies require their employees to read a company handbook on the first day of their job. While the handbook usually details logistics like lunch hour breaks, office hours and leave applications, it can also detail your guidelines when it comes to workplace discrimination.
A no tolerance policy is vital in creating an atmosphere where all can feel welcome. For those who break this code and are found to repeatedly discriminate against someone -regardless if it’s for their gender, orientation, race or age-, enforce whatever rule you feel necessary. Don’t forget to mention the repercussions of their plausible actions in the handbook as well!
- Hold training sessions
While enforcing the first two rules helps keep you in the right state of mind when recruiting, training sessions serve as a reminder of your commitment to be fair to all, while pushing your employees to do the same. Whether it’s during team building activities or a dedicated day to talk about workplace discrimination, it is vital to train your employees to say no to discrimination.
With these skills, both you and your employees will be trained to conduct better interviews when hiring new staff, treating people who are different with equity and respect, while creating a safe space to work overall.