Definition of Discrimination:
Discrimination occurs when an employee or a candidate is treated unfairly based on their age, race, ethnicity, religion, disability or gender. These characteristics are protected by law and it is illegal to deny employment opportunities based on these grounds.
Types of Discrimination:
Direct discrimination: When the discrimination is apparent. For instance, when you deny a deserving opportunity to someone because they might start a family or have to take care or a disabled dependent.
Indirect discrimination: This occurs when the rules or policies that are meant to treat everyone equally have a negative effect. For instance, when the company wants everyone to work on Sundays, which is difficult for Christians as it is their worship day.
Instances of discrimination include:
Paying different salaries to employees in the same position.
Denying opportunities to people because of disability, maternity, paternity or retirement.
Unfavourable treatment during promotions.
Denying employment benefits to certain employees.
How can we avoid Discrimination at the workplace:
- Ensure that your job advertisement does not express bias. For instance, avoid using terms like ‘Chairman’, which implies only men can hold that position. Treat all your candidates the same way and do not ask questions about starting a family, or about their disability.
- Have an equal employment opportunity policy and be vocal about it.
- Make it a part of your onboarding training. Let the new hires know how you treat discrimination at the workplace.
- Foster a culture of acceptance and belongingness at your company. Let your employees know what is unacceptable and encourage them to respect the differences. Let all your employees know what is classified as discrimination to avoid inadvertent problems and encourage them to respect the difference in among their peers.
- Put the complaints on the speed track. Act upon them quickly and make your employees feel heard and respond to it.
- Do a timely review and enforcement of your discrimination policy. Update your policy regularly to ensure that it complies with the regulations and treats everyone fairly.