Discrimination is a world-wide issue, but according to Glassdoor in 2019, 61% of U.S. employees experienced discrimination in the workplace. Age was the most common trigger.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a list of discrimination claims in 2018. Sex discrimination took second place with over 32% complaints. Employers have the responsibility of keeping their employees safe from many types of discrimination. To avoid a discrimination claim, employers should apply three things.
1. A strict nondiscrimination policy
Companies can take a firm stand by starting with a policy that shows discrimination is a serious offense in the workplace. This shows employees they will work in an environment in which there is respect.
Employers should provide reasonable accommodations for employees who need them for medical and religious reasons. Federal, state and local laws provide requirements for accommodations needed for other reasons as well.
2. Manager and employee training
Managers need training to implement the nondiscrimination policy; prevention is their responsibility. They must have a thorough understanding of the policy. Managers should recognize the signs and attempt to deescalate any situation that could turn into discriminatory conditions.
Employers may want to think about mandatory employee training, as well. Employees need to know that they are safe to come to any manager if they need to report an instance of discrimination. There should be no punishment for reporting.
3. Response time
Response to a complaint, whether discrimination, harassment or retaliation, should happen in a timely and professional manner. All information needs to remain strictly confidential while adhering to the company’s policy. The investigation should be thorough and impartial.
When everyone in the company understands the complaint process and the consequences of violating the nondiscrimination policy, it can improve the company culture for everyone.