Workplace discrimination claims are bad for business. When an employee feels wrongly targeted for their gender, age, disability, race or another protected characteristic, it can result in lawsuits that are disruptive to your operations and your company’s reputation.
Businesses can, however, mitigate their risks and take proactive steps to reduce and address workplace discrimination. Here’s how:
1. Define policies to prevent discrimination
Businesses can design anti-discrimination policies. These policies can clarify employees’ right to work in a professional workplace with zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. Employees may also need to be informed of what happens if they are caught discriminating against others, such as fines, termination or passed-over promotions. A strong anti-discrimination policy can help insulate a business against allegations that it has a “culture” of discrimination.
2. Train employees to fight discrimination
While workplace policies are a start to addressing discrimination, it’s often not enough. Businesses may require employees and employers to attend training. Training programs may teach employees of their rights against discrimination and what they can do to combat disruptive behaviors. Employees who are trained to spot and report discrimination may help make a safer workplace.
3. Create a discrimination resolution process
When an employee reports discrimination, businesses should consider how the report is addressed. Typically, businesses make unbiased investigations before any repercussions. Businesses that investigate discrimination claims in a timely manner can create more trust with their employees.
4. Diversify the workplace
Diverse workplaces can have less discrimination. When employees see more individuals of different social groups in their immediate circles, they may be less likely to apply stereotypes or biases. Employees of minority groups may feel safer and be more productive when they see others with similar characteristics.
Handling a discrimination claim can be difficult. Businesses may need to reach out for legal help to learn what they can do.