The success of a business, company, or organization depends on several factors. Some may be directly out of their control, take an economic crisis for example, while others can be directly influenced. For instance, a business has control over the quality of its products and services, its finances, to some degree, employees, and finally, its work culture, among others.
All these controllable factors can affect a business in one way or another. However, the company’s employees and work culture can have the most profound effect on the productivity and profitability of the company. This effect could be positive or negative depending on how employees are treated and how conducive the workplace and work culture is for them. Click here to learn more about work culture.
For example, you’ll find that employees or workers that are discriminated against at work are less likely to be as productive as others in a company where discrimination doesn’t exist. Employees that are discriminated against cease to be enthusiastic and satisfied with their work and may not hesitate to leave once another job comes their way. Discrimination is that bad!
What is Workplace Discrimination?
Workplace discrimination happens when an employee or a group of employees are treated adversely because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sex, personal belief, or any other reason. It is an unacceptable behavior and should be frowned upon by everyone.
As a matter of fact, discrimination is illegal and prohibited under several laws including the Equality Act of 2010, the Americans with Disability Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ensures all the above laws are enforced to curb and possibly eradicate the ugly act. Visit https://www.eeoc.gov/youth/about-eeoc-2 to learn more about the EEOC.
Nearly every race, gender, or ethnicity is discriminated against one way or another. However, some studies have shown that Black and Hispanic workers are more likely to be discriminated against compared to Whites. Also, when it comes to gender, female employees are mostly on the receiving end, with harassment included.
Effects of Discrimination in the Workplace
The ugly act of discrimination has many negative effects in the workplace and in businesses in general. Below are a few of them:
Discriminating against a person for whatever reason can lead to increased stress levels that can result in more serious health problems. When an employee is constantly aware of the fact that they can be discriminated against for anything they do, wear, say, or just by the fact that they exist, they begin to overthink things. Excessive amounts of stress often result in other health problems, usually mental illnesses.
The ugly act doesn’t just affect employees, businesses where workers are frequently being discriminated against also take a hit. An organization may suffer financial losses once one or a few employees suddenly leave because of discrimination. For instance, once employees leave, the company has to spend money to hire and train a replacement.
The company also losses if the employee remains because then, their productivity will most likely plummet. Eventually, the employee will be fired, and a replacement would be hired. Whichever way, the business losses money.
This is also tied to financial loss as a business may find itself facing legal problems resulting from a suit. If a worker is unjustly fired, they may decide to sue the company as there are laws protecting against this. The company, of course, would need to hire a lawyer to defend them. The funds that would go into the case may have been used in other areas that would benefit the company.
Discrimination Training in the Workplace
It is true that the world has come a long way when it comes to fairness and equality, however, discrimination does happen from time to time.
Employees can be discriminated against in different ways, some obvious, while some are ever so subtle. In fact, some employers or co-workers do it unconsciously. Regardless of which form it takes, intentional or unintentional, no one deserves to be treated unfairly. One way that people can be made conscious of this ugly behavior and the different areas it can happen is by training them.
Once employers and employees become aware of the consequences of this act both on the company and in the lives of its victim, they’ll become more conscious and do their best to avoid it. A well-designed discrimination training program can help solve this problem. By reiterating that preventing the act and ensuring everyone has equal opportunities, the training program will drive positive, inclusive behavior in the workplace.
A well, put-together training should cover:
- When and how the discrimination can occur in the workplace
- The different forms it can take
- Its effect on employees and the organization
- Anti-discrimination laws and the consequences of violation
- The company’s anti-discrimination policy
- How it can be prevented in the workplace.
Although several laws have been put in place to check this ugly behavior, the perception is that its occurrence remains frequent. To eradicate discrimination, we must fight it collectively and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to succeed and achieve their goals.