Although systemic racism in the workplace may not be as rampant as it was a few decades ago, it can still be a major issue. There are federal laws prohibiting companies from considering a worker’s race when making employment decisions, and people are more aware of their rights.
Sadly, the law doesn’t prevent people from being racist at their jobs. Workers from one background might mistreat employees of a different race or ethnicity, leading to complaints and eventually claims against the company that employs those people. Businesses that fail to intervene and prevent harassment or hostile work environments may end up responsible for allowing that harassment to continue.
How do businesses reduce the likelihood of racial harassment and discrimination affecting their reputations or finances?
By providing thorough employee training
It has become common practice for companies to include anti-racism and discrimination training when they bring in new staff members. Educating workers about what kind of behavior would be unacceptable, including racial jokes and the use of slurs in the workplace, can make it easier for the workers to identify harassment when it occurs and for the company to punish those who violate behavioral standards.
When companies can show that they have a policy against harassment or discrimination and trained their workers to avoid such misconduct, such acts can insulate the business against allegations that it turned a blind eye to a hostile work environment.
Through analysis of existing systems
Is there only one human resources manager who makes the decision about layoffs at the company? Without a second professional reviewing their decisions, they might intentionally or subconsciously let their personal biases influence the decisions that they make.
If the company doesn’t catch an issue, like including almost all of its workers over 40 or almost exclusively female employees in a layoff, the workers affected may have grounds for a discrimination claim.
From reviewing the company’s handbook and operating policies to diversifying decision-making authority so that one person can’t cause the company significant damage, there are many ways in which a company can update its existing systems to minimize the potential of racial discrimination going unnoticed in the workplace.
Taking proper steps to prevent workplace racial discrimination can protect a business from expensive allegations and its employees from traumatic experiences.