Federal laws protect employees from unsafe work environments – including the hazards of workplace discrimination. Discrimination often targets people’s characteristics, such as people’s race, color, sexual preferences, age, disabilities and gender.
People who discriminate do so in many ways. For example, someone who holds prejudice against people of color could be reluctant to hire someone of the opposite color and more willing to hire someone of the same color. Or, an employer may find out that an employee celebrates a different religious holiday and, as a result, the employer may force the employee to suppress any religious practices at work.
It’s important that companies take preventative actions against discrimination so that employees don’t suffer from harmful actions. Here are a few practices that companies can use to help make their workplaces feel inclusive:
Policies and punishments
Companies should make their employers and employees aware of their anti-discrimination policies. These policies should clarify that discrimination is prohibited in the workplace and that punishments are administered to offenders. Some of these punishments may include mandatory anti-discrimination training or firing.
Employer and employee training
As mentioned above, companies may have anti-discrimination training for their employers and employees. This training may help teach workers of their rights when witnessing or being subjected to discrimination. This training should be mandatory for everyone in the company.
What if a company does nothing to combat discrimination?
Deep-seated discrimination is often hard to uproot. Employers and employees may come into a workplace with prejudices and biases – and some companies do very little to prevent or punish discriminatory acts despite their written policies and mandatory training.
As a result, many minorities feel unsafe at work but have no other option to continue working where they are to make a living. People who understand their legal rights might have a better chance at combating workplace discrimination and creating a safer environment for themselves and others.