Discrimination can take many forms, and sometimes it is not obvious. Passing over someone for a promotion due to their personal characteristics can limit your competitive advantage. This overt form of discrimination can also leave employees publicly humiliated, and result in your company being sued or prosecuted by the federal agencies. Subtle discrimination is the result of comments and other negative behaviors, which can leave individuals feeling unwanted and unappreciated. While this form of discrimination may not result in a court appearance, it can cost you your customer base and should be corrected before it becomes a big problem.
Provide training to all employees. Explain the benefits of having a diverse workplace, and encourage employees to be tolerant of others, regardless of differences.
Examine your company’s diversity. Not only should you speak of the importance of diversity, make sure you are following those standards. Offer advancement based on merit, and hire individuals based solely on qualifications and experience. One way to make sure you are hiring a diverse workforce is to have a bonded, outside agency to hire for you. Check with a temporary agency or employment agency to learn about their procedures.
Establish policies for combating subtle discrimination. Implement punishments for anyone exhibiting those types of behaviors, such as time off without pay.
Make employees accountable for one another. Ask employees to report any instances of discriminatory behavior. Offer an open-door policy to management, and ensure the privacy rights of individuals.
Acknowledge that in spite of your best efforts, discrimination can occur in the workplace. If it does happen, address it immediately.
Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.