As an employer, if employees consider you to be prejudiced, you are showing a negative attitude to people who are different from you. Your "us" vs "them" mentality can create anger and frustration in the workplace. To make matters worse, employees might accept your prejudice just to fit in and avoid conflict. Some employees might even follow your example. The work environment could become a hostile, unproductive and unethical environment.
You would like to believe that you're an ethical and unbiased manager who acts fairly and in the best interests of the organization. Unintentionally and unconsciously, however, you may have biases that impede your organization's growth. For instance, you may instinctively consider a disabled person as weak or a low income person as lazy. Your prejudices can affect your judgment when hiring, promoting and forming partnerships.
When you discriminate against an employee due to age, sex, religion or physical disability, you might be breaching your organization's ethics code. A prejudiced attitude can make a person feel like she is unwelcome, which can make her feel disrespected. Such an attitude is inconsistent with values that promote fairness and equality. If you aren't applying fairness to the workplace, you can't expect employees to treat each other with respect and support the organization.
Prejudice in the workplace can result in a discrimination lawsuit. Managers and human resources personnel should receive training on how to recruit and hire employees in compliance with all laws related to equal employment opportunity. Anyone conducting an interview should know what questions are not acceptable, and how to avoid stereotypes when making employment decisions. It is also advisable to document business decisions in the event of a lawsuit.
When employees believe you are discriminating against them, the work environment can become unproductive and morale can suffer. Employees may believe they are unable to advance due to their race, gender, disability or age. They are likely to lose faith in you as a manager because you form opinions based on personal biases. To avoid creating such a troubled environment, take steps to promote diversity and investigate all complaints of discrimination.
- Harvard Business Review: How (Un)ethical Are You?
- Study Mode: Discrimination in the Business
- Littler: Failing to Train Managers on Preventing Discrimination in Employment Decisions can Establish an Employer's Willful Disregard for the Law Leading to an Award of Punitive and Liquidated Damages
- The CPA Journal: TOP TEN TIPS ON RECOGNIZING AND PREVENTING ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
- Ethics in the Workplace: Tools And Tactics for Organizational Transformation; Craig Edward Johnson