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How to avoid discriminatory practices as an employer

Posted by Anita F. O'Meara, Esq. | Oct 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Your business wouldn't work without your employees, and the happier they are with their job, the more likely it will be for your business to succeed. Because of this, it is important to take measures to avoid discriminatory practices that could affect your employees' performances. Also, doing this would be in your best interests, as you'd want to comply with the law and avoid future disputes resulting from a lack of established policies.

Be careful when hiring

Anti-discriminatory practices should start the moment you hire someone. First of all, your pool of candidates must be diversified. Then, you must ensure that the person conducting the recruitment process treats all potential employees the same way, and they must choose a candidate without biases.

Additionally, the selection criteria in your job posting should not exclude certain racial groups or nationalities. For example, do not announce you are looking for a “highly educated employee” or a “U.S. citizen” if it is not strictly necessary or legally required. Think about what you need from a person and avoid language that limits eligibility based on age, sex or citizenship status.

Implement strong policies

Setting business policies is a must. Not only must you let your employees know about their rights under the law, but you also need policies to inform them about their obligations. You can outline the policies in an employee handbook or employment agreement. These policies will make your employees aware that you won't tolerate any kind of discrimination. If you do this, make sure you detail that those that harass or discriminate against someone will suffer the consequences of their unacceptable behavior.

It would also be good to include which behaviors give grounds for dismissal in the employee handbook or agreement. Outline what is strictly prohibited, and then follow and enforce those policies diligently. Also, it would be helpful if you include that if someone suffers from harassment or discrimination, you won't retaliate against them if they inform you about this problem.

Set the example

You are the leader of your business, so you are responsible for setting the example you want your employees to follow. Respect your employees' differences, educate your team on anti-discriminatory practices and never make any negative comments to anyone. Also, establish objective criteria to avoid subjective employment decisions based on biases.

Last but not least, you should always take discrimination and harassment claims seriously. Failure to investigate these claims could lead to an employee filing a complaint against you. Besides, if you take those claims lightly, your employees won't trust your leadership skills, and the respect they have for you could disappear.

Protection for you and your employees

You must prevent discriminatory practices if you want a cooperative and productive work environment. However, taking steps to prevent discrimination does not ensure that this won't happen at all. That is why you must take discrimination or harassment claims seriously and document everything when one arises. You control your business, and it is up to you to prove to your team that your business is inclusive, supportive and free from illegal, discriminatory practices.

About the Author

Anita F. O'Meara, Esq.

PRACTICE AREAS: Estate Planning, ADministration and litigation, and Commercial litigation Biography:  Anita Fulwiler O'Meara concentrates on providing estate planning and probate services throughout Southeaster Pennsylvania, including Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, and Montgomery, counties, wit...


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