Employers are tasked with many responsibilities, particularly when it comes to staff. Along with protecting employees from physical harm, you must also make sure they’re psychologically well. Ensuring an inclusive, encouraging environment at work benefits your business and employees, but it can also prevent discrimination claims arising from alleged misconduct.
Laws stipulate that employers must treat all workers equally, no matter their race, gender, country of origin, or religious belief. Employers are also beholden to fostering a healthy work environment, which entails stamping out practices that can lead to discrimination. Here are a few steps you can take to remain compliant and protect your workers from harmful behaviors.
Look beyond the usual pool of candidates
Diversity in the workplace begins with the hiring process. Even if you are not actively discriminating against potential candidates, your hiring practices may unintentionally exclude certain groups. Review current hiring practices to look for biases and address them appropriately. When promoting workers from within the organization, make sure all are given the opportunity to apply, even entry-level workers when applicable.
Make sure your staff is properly trained and informed
In order for workers to avoid discriminating against others, they must understand what discrimination is. Provide clear descriptions of prohibited behaviors in employee handbooks, ranging from seemingly harmless jokes to harassing behaviors. Detail the process for making a complaint, and make sure your staff knows they can do so anonymously. Also, list the steps management will take when investigating claims.
Encourage respect and civility
Treating everyone as an equal does not mean disputes and arguments will never arise. However, when workers treat each other civilly and maintain respect for one another, disputes are less likely to escalate into something harmful. Management can model the behavior they hope to see in their staff by behaving courteously and respectfully to all.