Employers have an obligation by law to create diverse and inclusive workplaces free of discriminatory practices. Workers of all backgrounds should be safe, welcome, be treated fairly and feel respected and valued.
There are federal and state laws that govern this matter. One of them is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark federal legislation bars employers from discriminating against employees because of their religion, color, sex, race and national origin.
States can have their own laws about this subject as well. In Virginia, a law bans discrimination against people working in state government and those applying for positions in state government. It is based upon the above characteristics as well as many others such as disability, age and gender expression or identity.
Can employers face consequences if they are not in compliance with these laws?
Yes, they can. According to one expert, “Without diversity in the workplace, there can be grounds for actions and behavior that rise to unlawful and unfair employment practices.”
What can an employer do to build a diverse and inclusive workforce?
All employees should understand that they will not be subjected to backlash if they file a complaint about violations of the law. Another meaningful step that employers can take is to set ground rules for their workplace that specifically forbid discriminatory conduct. This policy should be in full force throughout the entire organization.
Yet another crucial measure is training. Employees at each level of the organization’s structure need to know about diversity and inclusiveness, their importance and what the law states.
It makes sense to foster an environment based on inclusiveness and diversity
Your organization can reap advantages from an inclusive workforce. Some of them are enhanced creativity and input from a wider variety of viewpoints. You may be an employer who has questions about laws that concern diversity and inclusivity. Ask what you need to do to be in compliance and protect your company’s reputation and future.