The U.S. Equal Emploment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. The EEOC prohibits discrimination of all types, including regarding race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Among laws that protect workers from discrimination are the Equal Pay Act of 1963, EPA; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, ADEA; and Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, ADA.Whether you are in the majority or in a protected class, these protections are important to a happy worklife.
One of your best strategies for preventing discrimination is following the law. Employers that know and abide by the law are less likely to adopt discriminatory practices. Maintaining a workplace that is free from harassment is vital to employment satisfaction and the productivity, and it promotes the success of an organization. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination. It covers older workers, veterans, pregnant workers and unemployed workers. When you and your management team become educated about the legal requirements, you are less likely to discriminate.
Employers are less likely to discriminate when they adopt a multicultural work climate. When your team is trained in diversity and embraces respect and acceptance of employees from many different abilities and cultures, discrimination is less likely to happen. Recruitment policies should reflect a multicultural mindset, focusing on people of many different races, ethnicities, cultures, socio-ethnic backgrounds and abilities. Part of building a diverse work environment also includes encouraging policies that promote acceptance of gender differences.
Management training on diversity and anti-discrimination practices is also an important strategy for preventing and stopping discrimination in the organization. Every business initiative has the potential for discrimination. However, if employers and management teams are trained in discrimination and learn how to adopt uniform policies that fight discrimination, it is less likely to happen. Some helpful practices that fight discrimination include training on what protected class employee are and defining what constitutes harassment. Employers may also review what traditional discrimination language is, including “qualified individuals with disabilities,” which refers to individuals who can perform the essential functions of a job with or without accommodation. When managers begin to learn key concepts in discrimination, and how to avoid using language that is discriminatory in hiring, firing, and management practices, discrimination is less likely to become a problem in daily management practices.
Employers must communicate clearly that neither discrimination nor harassment wil be tolerated in the workplace. Managers have a duty of communicating this policy clearly to all employees. Actions are important and often speak louder than words. Thus, a manager’s non-verbal actions must communicate to all employees that discrimination will not be tolerated. This can be achieved by empathizing with employees and by demonstrating respect for all employees, regardless of their backgrounds, experience, and limitations or achievements. An employer should provide consistent communication and feedback to all employees to help stop discrimination. When concerns do arise, she stops problems from escalating.
Aanya Rose has been writing since 1998. Her work has appeared in "ADDitude," "Curl," "Diabetes Alternatives," "Fitness," the "Healing Path" and more. She has served as a channel manager for various websites and worked in consultation and training. Rose holds a B.S. and Ph.D.