The American workforce is rapidly changing, and employers have had to follow suit. One of the most important concerns for current employers is preventing claims of workplace discrimination. There are several measures that employers in all industries can use to reduce the risk of exposure to legal action as well as private conflicts involving discrimination claims.
The best practices to prevent discrimination
Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), all qualifying employers have an obligation to ensure their workplaces are free from discrimination based on age, race, gender, disability, religion and nation of origin. No employer can have eyes and ears everywhere, making it impossible to control the actions and words of every employee. With that said, the EEOC does have several best practices that it recommends every employer put in place to avoid discrimination claims:
- Training: Educate staff members at all levels on EEOC policies. This includes hourly janitorial staff to C-level executives.
- Inclusivity measures: Develop initiatives to promote inclusivity of employees from diverse backgrounds.
- Transparent processes: Implement clearly defined, confidential steps for reporting harassment and discrimination.
- Remove retaliation: Promise employees that if they do experience discrimination, they can report it without fear of retaliatory measures.
- Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): The early exploration of ADR to resolve disputes that do arise can prevent litigation.
These are only a few measures that a company can use if it wants to prevent discrimination-based legal claims.
Preventing discrimination also increases diversity
An employer’s most practical concern may be avoiding litigation. But, along with preventing legal action, these steps play the important role of fostering inclusivity in the work force. When a company has the groundwork to prohibit discrimination, it also fosters inclusivity and diversity. These make the individuals of the workforce feel more welcome and safe at all levels. It improves morale, increases loyalty, protects employees’ rights and lets employers breathe more easily.