How Business Owners Handle Discrimination

Discrimination on sex, age, gender, among others are hot issues in the workplace. A business owner could land in court and lose the company if he isn’t careful about how he deals with employees.

Certainly, there are tips to avoid such predicament. They’re here from our basic guide. So read on.

Discrimination in the workplace has many negative effects. It lowers employee morale, fosters dissatisfaction on the job, creates ill-feelings between co-workers and groups of people, among others. Employee animosity and frustration could further result to low productivity, high employee turnover and even lawsuits that could cripple the business. As a business owner, it is your lookout to prevent any form of discrimination from happening in your company.

The first step you can do to avoid committing discriminatory acts is to educate yourself. Research on federal, state and city laws regarding discrimination and learn everything you can. Follow this up by keeping yourself updated with related information from newspapers, government Web site postings and peers in the industry.

Educate also your co-workers on how to conduct themselves in order not to unwittingly discriminate others in any form. A simple remark might constitute discrimination without the person knowing it. You can set a time to conduct a seminar on this topic. You can also emphasize on this seminar that it is the policy of the company to be fair to everybody regardless of faith, color, religion, age, gender, and disability. Enhance this by posting the policy in writing where everybody can see it around the office. Prove that you are standing by your policy by being fair to everyone in the company. If you will have to offer a benefit, make it available to everyone and not only to a certain defined group. Treat every employee with respect, equality and consideration.

Be alert to detect signs of discrimination. Do not rely on what you just see. Do not neglect early signs. Investigate when necessary. If you receive a complaint, pay attention to it. Talk to the person who brought the complaint and do what’s necessary to address the problem and thwart a possible full-blown discrimination from happening. Let not your judgment be clouded by your own personal biases. Always stick to what the law provides. And while you do this, always keep a record of the due process you have undertaken to address the issue. You might need this when worse comes to worst and a legal proceeding is needed.

For minor offences, you could issue warning for the employee not to repeat the discriminatory act. If the offence was repeated, a counselling might be needed. For serious cases, you might need to consult a lawyer who can answer your questions on what to do to be in keeping with the law.


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