Preventing Workplace Discrimination: Employers Vs. Employees
Workplace discrimination does not need to be an “employees versus employers” mentality. Both should work to make a safe, productive, and happy work environment. That is why an employment discrimination lawyer at Cohen and Cohen has put together a list of tips for both sides of the aisle to foster community in the hopes of preventing harassment from happening.
The size of your company does not matter. Discrimination and harassment can happen anywhere. It is important to immediately establish a guidebook; it should thoroughly explain what workplace harassment looks like with examples. This guidebook should also have a set of standard operating procedures that an employee can follow should they encounter discrimination. Take this time to improve your reporting processes within your company. Employees should be able to report discrimination without retribution from the person being reported.
When creating your method of discrimination reporting, ensure that employees are able to communicate in multiple ways. Sometimes an employee may not be comfortable meeting with a manager face-to-face. It is also possible that the manager is the one harassing employees, so there should be multiple people to which an issue can be reported.
Training in your reporting procedures should be done on a regular basis. Your HR department can help to establish this schedule based on your local laws and industry standards. This training should also include a section on helping employees identify discrimination in the workplace.
Finally, ask your employees what they feel comfortable with. Allow them to submit information through an anonymous survey if they are unhappy with the workplace procedures or have other ideas they would like to contribute to the process.
If you see something, say something. The bystander effect is when multiple people see something happen, but no one reports it. The reason behind this can be twofold: a person is worried about the effects of stepping forward such as being fired or targeted by their coworkers, or everyone thinks that the others around them will step in to help when in reality everyone is thinking the same thing, so no one says anything.
Do not be a bystander. The moment you notice inappropriate behavior, report it. When you first start with a company, educate yourself on their procedures for workplace discrimination. If there are no procedures in place or you are not happy with the ones that are in place, reach out to your employer and voice your concerns.
As an employee, the best tip to avoid discrimination is just to be cognizant of those around you. Do not invade anyone’s personal space and take a second to consider if what you are going to say is insensitive or may come across as inappropriate.
If you are an employee facing discrimination from a coworker or manager, contact an attorney near you for help immediately. If you are an employer facing an unjust accusation from an employee about workplace harassment, contact a lawyer near you for help immediately. No matter which side of the aisle you fall on, it is important to work together to prevent discrimination and harassment from happening in the first place.