How To Fight Discrimination In The Workplace


Workplace discrimination is one of the quickest ways to kill employee morale and make the turnover rates skyrocket. Unfortunately, there’s no space for discrimination in any modern workplace, so it’s a good idea to try and stop it early and thoroughly.  These are the top ways to fight discrimination and why it’s important to do so.

Pay Attention to Employee Needs

Every employee will tell you what they need and when they need it.  If you listen to them, they’ll let you know when discrimination is happening in the office.  Sometimes it can happen in ways that you don’t expect, leading to issues in the workplace. If employees say they need more accessible walking paths or need a certain day off every week for religious purposes, it’s good to discuss this with them and find a solution to the issue.

Hire And Train Thoroughly

Don’t hire employees without knowing their work history.  This is more than just whether they showed up to work on time and why they stopped working there: this is about finding out if there were any complaints against them and what their employers thought about them.  If they have a history of mistreating coworkers, they’re not going to be a good match for your business.

When new employees start, it’s a good idea to train them as thoroughly as possible.  Let them know that discrimination isn’t acceptable and that you want professional behavior out of everyone in the office.  If they can’t understand this, they will not be a good fit for your company.

Have an Open-Door Complaint Policy

Make it clear to employees that if they see, hear, or experience any discrimination, they need to talk to human resources or someone higher up.  If it’s a higher-up who they have a complaint against, they need to take it even higher.  There’s no need for an employee to feel uncomfortable or discriminated against, and it’s okay to make it clear to them.

Leave No Room for Discrimination

If any complaints are brought forward, make it clear that this behavior isn’t going to stand.  Ignoring complaints will quickly lead to discrimination cases, so ensure that you take every complaint seriously.  Talk to the victim, gather any witness information, and then talk to the alleged perpetrator.  If you find that it seems like discrimination was carried out here, make it clear that there’s no room for it, and ask the victim what they feel like the proper response is.  Although firing is always an option, you can always retrain.

Retrain All Employees Often

Retrain all employees on discrimination as often as possible.  At least once a year, talk about discrimination, what it does to people, and why it’s not acceptable.  The more you train and drill this point home, the more your employees will take it seriously.  If you avoid these discussions because they’re ‘hard’ or uncomfortable, you’re setting your employees and your business up for failure.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]