Racial discrimination should not be found anywhere, especially not in the workplace. It’s sometimes a subtle hint and other times an obvious outcry of racism, but should always be avoided and discouraged. As an employer, it is your responsibility to teach your employees and be an example of acceptance, no matter an individual’s race. Moreover, because racial discrimination is disallowed by the law, your business could get in a lot of trouble if you don’t adhere to the guidelines prohibiting the ugly practice.
Forms of Racial Discrimination
As was previously mentioned, racial discrimination can be subtle. You may not even realize it’s happening if you don’t take a minute to think before you act or speak. Some forms of discrimination that you can watch out for when hiring new employees or observing current staff members include:
•Asking about race during an interview. When you conduct an interview to hire someone for a new position at work, race should never play a deciding factor. Don’t ask for an indication of race on the application, and don’t talk about it when you interview the individual. It may seem harmless, but if you choose not to hire a specific individual who likes to play the “race card,” you could end up with a legal complaint on your hands. Simply keep it out of the interview.
•Firing someone based on race. If you hired multiple people to see how they each perform, with the intent of firing some after a probationary period, be careful that you don’t fire one individual based on the color of his or her skin. This doesn’t play into a person’s skill set, and you should never let it affect your decisions, either.
•Paying an employee less because of race. You can never let race get in the way of whether or not you think someone deserves a certain salary. Pay should always be based on business practices and the qualifications of the individual. When you consider pay raises, only take a look at work ethic and contribution to the business.
•Segregating employees. When you set the office up for business and assign individuals to offices, cubicles or workspace, never assume they will want to be with others of the same race. Never assign work space based on ethnicity. Don’t assume they will be better suited to sit by a window, a door, the cafeteria or anywhere else because of your pre-assumed notions about their race.
How to Prevent Racism at Work
There are some specific things you can do to protect everyone in the workplace, no matter each’s ethnicity. The following are some ideas that will help you prevent racism with yourself and among your employees.
1.Post an antidiscrimination policy. Ensure that every employee receives a copy of the policy and require each to read and sign it. Be sure the policy includes consequences for individuals who participate in racism.
2.Inform potential employees. Individuals typically know if they can’t handle working with someone of a particular race. When you interview people for a job opening, let them know about the antidiscrimination policy right up front. They can make the decision for themselves whether or not they will be able to abide by it and whether or not they want to pursue the job.
3.Establish an antidiscrimination committee. Call on certain individuals in the workplace who exhibit professionalism and maturity to head up an antidiscrimination committee. Have them work together to promote unity and train employees on how to avoid racism in the workplace.
There really is no place for racism at work. Not only is it uncalled for and unprofessional, but it is also against the law. As the owner or manager of your company, create a safe environment for all of your employees by understanding and avoiding racial discrimination.
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