In 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission put out a report stating that 99,412 workers had filed discrimination claims. This means there are thousands of employees every year who feel discriminated against for reasons pertaining to pregnancy, sexual orientation and cultural differences. However, when a company commits to ending discrimination and embracing diversity, it often finds itself with productive, happy employees who are loyal to the company.
Explain Discrimination Laws
Employers should educate themselves and employees on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law states that is it unlawful for companies to discriminate based on age, sex, race, ability, religion and ethnicity. In addition, it's important to post the laws in a common area, such as the break room. Information should also be given out to employees on when to contact human resources for help and how to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should discrimination be an issue.
Provide sensitivity- and cultural-training seminars and workshops to managers. According to Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions, businesses who diversify have a better chance at stopping discrimination during the hiring and firing process, and throughout all business initiatives. Everyday occurrences, such as tossing aside a female's application for warehouse employment, can be subtle forms of discrimination. In addition, harassment and diversity policies should be clearly defined, written and distributed to all employees upon hiring.
Focus on Diversifying
When a company keeps diversity at the forefront, it sees an increase in productivity and the bottom line and a decrease in discrimination, absenteeism, law suits and turnover, says Karsh. "A mutual respect happens when a company hires people of different cultures, ages, races and genders. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences enable them to bring more creative ideas to the table which, ultimately, captures the attention of global clients." In addition, a company who diversifies can more easily attract a wider applicant pool and, therefore, can find better qualified candidates.
Employees who do philanthropic deeds take pride in the community, are less likely to be judgmental of co-workers, and are more likely to volunteer for leadership roles, explains Karsh. This is because helping others gives employees a deeper appreciation and understanding of cultural differences and abilities. According to a 1997 study conducted by Harvard University professor James E. Austin, companies who teach philanthropic ideals and encourage employees to volunteer are respected in the community and, therefore, have a recruitment advantage.
Find out what employees are feeling through written and verbal assessments. Job-satisfaction surveys can be anonymous or through a one-on-one meeting. Employee anxiousness or a lack of interest in career advancement could be because an employee doesn't feel included on the team. For example, when a salesman from another country is left out of important sales presentations, his co-workers may not want him around clients because of his accent. According to Douglas N. Silverstein, a Los Angeles-based employment and labor law attorney at Kesluk & Silverstein, P.C., this kind of discrimination makes employees withdraw, destroys co-worker morale and can make the bottom line buckle.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions and Answers
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Charge Statistics FY 1997 Through FY 2012
- Brad Karsh; JB Training Solutions; Chicago, Illinois
- Havard Business School: Making Business Sense of Community Service
- Douglas N. Silverstein; Attorney at Kesluk & Silverstein; Los Angeles, California
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.