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Avoiding and addressing issues of discrimination and harassment

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Employment Law

Workplace discrimination and harassment are serious issues that can harm companies and affect employee well-being. Addressing these issues involves a combination of proactive measures to prevent them and effective strategies to deal with incidents when they occur.

What can employers do to prevent discrimination and harassment?

Employers can shape their workplace culture and make sure their employees know what behaviors are expected of them on the job. Businesses can:

  • Establish clear policies: Companies should create strong policies about discrimination and harassment. These policies should cover all protected classes, including race, gender, age, disability and sexual orientation.
  • Protect against retaliation: Company policy should clearly forbid retaliation against anyone who reports an issue. Employees should also know that this protection exists so they feel safe to come forward.
  • Educate employees: Employees should know how to recognize bias or mistreatment. Training should also highlight what steps to take if they face these issues.
  • Create support systems: Setting up support systems gives employees a safe place to talk about and handle sensitive concerns.

Taking these actions can help create a more inclusive environment in a business. They can also help businesses avoid the harm that bias and harassment can cause to a company and its reputation.

Addressing unfair treatment is a joint effort between employer and employee.

Unfortunately, even with strong policies, issues of bias or bad behavior can still happen. When they do, both the employer and the affected employee must work together to solve the issue. Key steps in this process include:

  • Reporting procedures: Companies should give workers a clear and confidential way to report issues. Employees should also understand these procedures.
  • Investigate the issue: When an employee reports an issue, the company must investigate quickly and fairly.
  • Take action: If the investigation confirms an incident occurred, the company must take action. Penalties could range from warnings and mandatory training to suspension. In some situations, firing might also be appropriate.
  • Follow-up: After the investigation, employers should check in with the affected employees. This helps them heal and shows the company’s commitment to a safe workplace. It also lets employers address any retaliation that might have occurred.

Both employees and employers play a role in creating a safe and inclusive workplace. Being proactive not only solves specific issues but also helps prevent future concerns.