Discrimination in the workplace: how should the company act?

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Discrimination in the workplace: how should the company act?

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A positive day-to-day work environment is fundamental to the success of any business. However, every company has people from diverse social, racial and cultural backgrounds, who do not have much in common besides the fact that they work together. These differences can lead to conflict situations in the team or even discrimination in the workplace.

Such cases are very serious and can have serious consequences for those involved and for the organization. With this in mind, we explain in this article how to prevent cases of discrimination in the workplace and manage these situations properly. Interested? Check out everything below!

How is discrimination characterized in the workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when there is a distinction in the treatment or opportunities given to an employee for reasons unrelated to the professional performance.

According to the UK residents Constitution, all are equal before the Law, which guarantees the inviolability of the right to life, freedom, equality and security.

Discrimination is characterized when this inviolability is disrespected, going against constitutional principles.

The most common types of discrimination in the workplace are prejudice against race and gender. A good example is the wage gap between men and women in the same position, or between white and black people who do the same job.

Prejudice in the workplace is also often practiced against people with disabilities or pathologies, such as HIV.

Unfortunately, it is common for these people to be stigmatized or even dismissed, with the justification that they would bring losses because they are absent more often due to medical treatments.

Discrimination in the workplace can also be reflected in the prejudices of:

  • nationality;
  • marital status;
  • religion;
  • social class.

Discrimination vs. harassment

It is worth noting that discrimination in the workplace should not be confused with harassment, which is a different problem, but equally serious.

Discrimination occurs when there is distinction or exclusion of the victim. Moral or sexual harassment is characterized by abusive conduct that reach the physical or psychological integrity of an individual.

Read too: How to avoid bullying at work and the financial impact of labor lawsuits

How to prevent discrimination in the workplace?

As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. See what your company can do to avoid situations of discrimination and keep the organizational climate up.

# 1 Build a culture of respect for differences

The best way to avoid discrimination in the workplace is to make respect for differences a priority in organizational culture.

Promote a treatment egalitarian and inclusive to all employees, whatever:

  • the position;
  • the color;
  • sexual orientation;
  • the gender;
  • the personal choices of each one.

THE empathy it’s the sense of collaboration they must be present in all the organization’s processes, in order to reinforce and institutionalize this behavior.

To establish this culture, hiring the right people is essential. Bring to the team people who are already aligned with that thought. Also try to hire professionals from diverse origins and ways of thinking, so that diversity is not limited to discourse.

# 2 Run diversity campaigns

Use the company’s media to promote awareness campaigns on diversity in the workplace, addressing the topic in a creative and relevant way.

A good idea is to hold events with debates and lectures on the topic of prejudice in the workplace. This is a great alternative for:

  • stimulate reflection;
  • generate empathy;
  • discuss the difficulties faced in these environments by women, homosexuals and blacks, among others.

How to deal with cases of discrimination in the workplace?

As much as the company takes preventive measures, it is often not possible to prevent cases of prejudice. So, what to do with discrimination at work? How to handle this type of situation?

The main steps are:

  • preserve the identity of those involved;
  • provide emotional and legal support to the victim;
  • apply the appropriate punishment to the aggressor.

Check out more details on this step by step below!

Preserve the identity of those involved

HR must propose exclusive channels for reporting discrimination, as well as harassment and other deviations from corporate conduct.

Failing to open this space may make people with a tendency to prejudice feel free to discriminate against colleagues, as they know that there will be no consequences for their actions.

The anonymity of those involved must be preserved, in order to prevent the case from becoming the subject of speculation by other employees, harming the company’s productivity and the climate of the environment.

Check the facts

When receiving a report of discrimination in the workplace, it is essential to make a thorough investigation of the facts. What really happened?

Talk to the victim, the accused and possible witnesses, depending on the case described.

The more information the company has at hand, the easier it will be to determine whether or not the situation characterizes discrimination in the workplace.

Consult the Law

Before deciding what action to take in the face of the facts, consult what the Constitution says. Law 9,029 / 1995 prohibits “any discriminatory and limiting practice for the purpose of accessing the employment relationship, or maintaining it, on the grounds of sex, origin, race, color, marital status, family situation, disability, professional rehabilitation, age, between others”.

Racism, for example, is considered an unspeakable and imprescriptible crime. Regarding prejudice against women in the labor market, the Law prohibits the requirement of fertility or pregnancy tests, as well as inducing sterilization.

Another point of attention is the layoffs carried out by the company. Dismissing an employee for discriminatory reasons requires professional reintegration with full reimbursement of the values ​​related to the time he was stopped. Another consequence may be the payment of twice the remuneration for the period of absence.

Provide emotional and legal support to the victim

The company should always stand by the victim, no matter what the aggressor’s status in the organization.

The support of HR and managers is essential so that the discriminated person feels welcomed and has more peace of mind to face the problem without fear of retaliation.

Activate the legal department to provide consultancy and free services to the employee. Also, be aware of the effects emotional and psychological that the situation caused to the staff, taking the necessary actions to preserve their mental health.

Apply the appropriate punishment to the aggressor

After investigating the facts, the company must punish the aggressor by warning, suspension or, if there is a repeat offense, dismissal for cause.

If nothing is done, the victim has the right to report the case to a Regional Labor Office and the police, further aggravating the problem.

Connecting with discrimination in the workplace increases the risk of suffering administrative and legal losses on the part of the employee and the government.

As we saw throughout the post, discrimination in the workplace is a serious matter and deserves special attention. Avoiding this type of situation must be a priority in the company, in order to preserve the good environment and the proper conduct in interpersonal relationships. Therefore, encourage diversity and respect for others in your organization’s day-to-day life!

Do you need to improve aspects of your company’s management? Contact HR Consultant UK and find out how we can help with this process. We are a Human Resources platform that reduces the time spent on HR activities and people management and optimizes your processes. Talk to an expert and find out how to reduce your HR costs by 30%.

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