Strategies to create an inclusive workplace for persons of all genders, nationalities and backgrounds

Discrimination based on sex, nationality, or ethnic background is strictly prohibited under the law in almost all countries. Employers must provide a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees and ensure no one is discriminated against or harassed.

Here are a few tips to help your workplace comply;

Have an anti-discrimination policy in place

Have your HR draft an anti-discrimination policy, which will then be brought to the attention of all your employees.

The policy needs to be very clear and include specific cases, covering all types of discrimination.

Let your employees know there will be consequences if they do not comply.

Every time you hire someone new, have them read the anti-discrimination policy.

Hold training sessions

People tend to forget stuff, so it’s good to remind them of the basics of your anti-discrimination policy. Hold seminars and training sessions. Make each session specific to a certain type of discrimination.

For instance, one month the topic should be gender equality in the workplace, while you can devote a training session to racial discrimination next month.

Utilise background checks in a fair way

If your company uses national police checks as part of the pre-employment screening strategy, make sure this applies to everyone. If you only target certain employees, you might find yourself accused of racial or ethnic profiling and discrimination.

Doing background checks on all employees might be a burden for your HR department.

If your organization has operations in a country like Australia, and you don’t want to complicate the lives of HR workers, you can use an online background check service like the following link: https://www.australiannationalcharactercheck.com.au that provides an online background check service. These types of services are accredited by the government. Depending on the type of background check you are after, there are various options and services available.

Screen for dangerous elements

Using background checks on all employees can help you avoid unpleasant situations. For instance, you might discover that a job applicant has been convicted of sexual crimes. Is that someone you can trust in the workplace? What if they prey on female employees?

Each case is unique, and your HR manager should exercise caution when dealing with candidates with a chequered past. If a candidate seems too much of a risk, best hire someone else.

At the same time, you should have your HR check out your job applicants’ social media accounts to make sure they do not hold racist or sexist views. Hiring someone like that poses a clear threat to the safety of your employees. If a candidate is prejudiced against a certain race, any employee belonging to that race is at risk. Snide remarks or derogatory terms used by that candidate will make them feel uncertain and even threatened.

Act swiftly to prevent offences

Having a good anti-discrimination strategy is useless if you do not enforce it. Your employees must understand this is not a joke, and they must all act in such a way as to ensure a safe and inclusive workspace for everyone.

If an employee reports an incident of this nature, you should investigate the matter and punish the culprit. Bring the case to the attention of the rest of your staff and make sure to let them know they risk being fired if they do not comply with your policy.

References

Australian Human Rights Commission (Sex discrimination) – https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/employers/sex-discrimination

Attorney General’s Department (Australia’s anti-discrimination law) – https://www.ag.gov.au/rights-and-protections/human-rights-and-anti-discrimination/australias-anti-discrimination-law