Creating a work environment and culture for employees that promotes diversity and discourages discrimination is essential for your success as a business person.
As an employer, it is your duty to enforce measures to prevent race discrimination in the workplace. Your employees and clients need to feel appreciated as opposed to being judged by the basis of where they come from or how they look. You need to ensure that any action that rates people differently due to their mother tongue, skin color, or racial characteristics isn’t condoned in your organization. Doing this will not only encourage diversity and cohesiveness but will also keep you from potential lawsuits that will cost your company thousands of dollars.
What the law says
The law is very clear – it is illegal to discriminate against an employee (or client) based on their race. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate workers based on religion, national origin, sex, color, and race. This law applies to employers with 15+ workers, including local, state, and federal governments. In this case, employment covers the areas of paying less, firing, discipline, harassment, hiring, actively demoting, or failure to promote.
Racism in the workplace may include things like:
- Employment decisions that filter out applicants of a particular race
- Stereotyping rather than recognizing persons as individuals
- Differently assigning job duties and projects based on race
- Paying according to racial identity
- Harassing behavior like joking about skin color or race or using racial slurs
- Race-based hostility like criticizing a Muslim for not drinking at an event or calling a black woman aggressive
- Displaying racism-associated symbols like Confederate flag or Swastika
- Being cautious on some people because of their race
- Threats or violence linked to a person’s race
The above are just a few examples of racism in the workplace. When it comes to employing, terminating, or promotion decisions, you may be held liable for polices discriminate against a particular group of people. Some forms of racism may be milder.
Where does your business stand on race discrimination?
If you are keen on ensuring a discrimination-free workplace, your first step should determine whether there are any underlying problems in your business. Pay attention to the demographic breakdown of your employees relative to that of the community it serves. Are some workers of the particular racial demographic group likely to work at unsocial hours? Is there a disparity? Do you have more employees from a specific race in the lowest ranks of your company? Is there an over-representation of layoffs, disciplinary actions, and grievances in these demographics?
If you answered yes in one or more of these questions, you likely have race issues in your company. It’s now your place to implement measures that will eradicate this problem. Here is how to do it.
- Start by reviewing the hiring policy and casting the net wide to accommodate vast applicants
- Promote equality of opportunity by reviewing pay policies, terms of service, benefits packages, recognition programs, promotion policies, performance reviews and training policies
- Write and effect an anti-discrimination policy to show your company’s position on racism and the consequences if the policy is violated
- Offer training to prevent racism at work
- Support the victim