Both the federal and Pennsylvania state governments have regulations in place that ban discrimination in the workplace. However, this does not completely eliminate the issue. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the state saw almost 4,000 charges relating to discrimination filed (some cases involve the same individual filing charges for multiple forms of discrimination).
Workplace discrimination can result in serious legal ramifications and loss of money, valuable employees and reputation for businesses. It is important to take measures to head off discrimination and complaints.
Enact a clear discrimination policy
It is imperative to make the workplace stand on discrimination clear from the very start by having a policy that includes unacceptable discriminatory behaviors, as well as the steps needed to report discrimination and potential repercussions. Handing out physical or digital copies to all employees and having them sign them can help ensure no one can claim they did not know about the policy.
Invest in training
All employees, including managers and supervisors, need to attend annual anti-discrimination training sessions. These will help them learn to identify and handle discrimination if they encounter it. Insisting on training also helps build a culture of no tolerance for discrimination by showing that those in charge value protecting their employees from discrimination.
Inclusion training can also be beneficial in combating discrimination. Understanding what behaviors to avoid is not necessarily the same as understanding how to actively include, respect and encourage workplace diversity.
Discrimination is a serious matter. By having measures in place to prevent and deal with it, employers can help reduce incidents and complaints and their severity. When a complaint is unavoidable, an experienced employment lawyer can aid in swiftly resolving the dispute and avoiding escalating it into a more costly conflict.