In the 2020s, it’s important to have anti-discrimination policies in your workplace protecting employees from forms of discrimination based on their sex, age, religion, disability, race, orientation, national origin, LGBTQ+ status, and many other factors. The human resources department in your company needs to be updating these non-discrimination guidelines regularly, otherwise you might fall behind as new laws are introduced in your country or region. New laws are introduced regularly, and you may not be notified. But why are non-discrimination policies so important, besides providing equal employment opportunities in the workplace? Here we look at some anti-discrimination policy examples and discuss why they are important for your company and its reputation. Let’s get to it!
Why Non-Discrimination Policies Are Important For Your Company
It’s the right thing to do
Sometimes you just need to do something because it’s the right thing to do as a human being. Taking business and legal requirements out of the equation, trying to create an equal opportunity discrimination-free workplace is the right thing to do. If you look at the employee handbook examples used by Fortune 500 companies, you will notice that many company leaders can sleep better at night knowing that their company is progressive and fair to all its employees and customers, regardless of their background.
You’re protected by law
You’ve got to comply with the law in your local country or region. The law regarding non-discrimination varies from country to country and region to region – even then, there can be variations under different city governments and county laws in different regions. Make sure you know the local law. If your work place accidentally doesn’t comply with local laws, you could feel the full force of the legal consequences and end up with a potentially expensive lawsuit on your hands. No one wants that for their business.
It reflects well on your brand
Making your non-discrimination policy and conditions of employment clear can help to reflect well on your brand from a PR perspective, helping you to stay progressive and open-minded when portrayed in the media. When looking for a new employee, you’ll find it easier to attract a good employee selection if your non-discrimination policy is up-to-date and includes them. For example, a potential employee who happens to be gay and African-American may feel more comfortable working for an employer with an up-to-date discrimination policy rather than an employer that just does the bare minimum due to legal requirements.
It helps get rid of bias
Humans are not perfect – we all have underlying prejudices and biases that can influence our decisions, even if we’re not fully aware of it. Even the most progressive employer can judge someone on a subconscious level based on their background. A good non-discrimination policy helps to eradicate this bias. For example, when looking for a new employee, some employers may ask that resumes omit certain details such as the person’s age, sex, and even their name. This helps every potential employee to be assessed based on their work rather than their background. However, some employers may also want to guarantee that their work place is diverse, making sure to hire employees who come from diverse backgrounds. There are many ways that your non-discrimination policies can play into this.
There’s a clear code of conduct for employee behavior
Sometimes an employee in your workplace may cause issues by using discriminatory language, or certain managers may appear to show bias to certain types of employee. You may even end up with a sexual harassment case on your hands. Appropriate employee behavior needs to be outlined by your HR team. If one of your team members or managers is accused of harassment or inappropriate language, it’s much easier to point to company policy rather than just expect employees to know what is and isn’t appropriate. If the employee has read and signed off on your zero-tolerance harassment policy, then there’s no excuse.
Non-Discrimination Policy Examples
Below are some example of discrimination policies that a business may consider adding when creating an employee HR handbook. Please bear in mind that the following are just basic example templates that don’t take your local laws and guidelines into account.
General Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
We value all job candidates and employees as individual people, welcoming their variety of life experiences and perspectives in our company. Our strict non-discrimination policy reflects this. We believe that all people should be treated the same regardless of their sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, marital status, age, native language, pregnancy, genetic information, citizenship status or any other defining characteristic. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly due to discrimination or sexual harassment, report it to your manager of a member of the human resources team immediately. All complaints are investigated appropriately.
Equal Employment Opportunities
We strive to ensure equal employment opportunity for all potential job candidates without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, or any other form of discrimination protected by law. We prohibit discrimination, bias, or harassment based on an employee’s background and/or identity.
Zero-Tolerance Policy Regarding Sexual Harassment
We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. This can include unwanted romantic or sexual overtures, inappropriate sexual jokes, or language and comments regarding sexual activities that are not appropriate. Our employees should never use company equipment to access pornographic material, even off the company’s property. It is also forbidden to use personal devices to access such material while working on-site or in the company of your fellow employees.
We encourage employees to report all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harasment. It is our policy to invest these reports quickly and thoroughly to the best of our ability. We prohibit retaliation against any employee who reports discrimination or sexual harassment, as well as retaliation against any person involved in the investigation of such reports without being directly involved in the original incident.
Disability Non-Discrimination Policy
It is our belief that everyone has the right to work, regardless of any disability(s) they have. Where appropriate, we will provide accommodation(s) to assist such employees to work effectively as part of the company. If an employee with a disability can perform the core function of their work, they are entitled to the same respect and legal protection as other employees in the company.
National Origin Non-Discrimination Policy
As a company, we do not believe in discriminating against someone based on their ancestry, their country where they were born, their culture, linguistic characteristics or accent (if specific to a certain region or ethnic group). This type of discrimination can also be based on marriage to persons of a certain origin group, promotion of such ethnic groups, participation in cultural religious cermonies, and a family name associated with a certain ethnic group.
Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Policy
We will not tolerate any form of discrimination or sexual harassment toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. Employees have the right to be open about their sexual orientation in the workplace in a professional and appropriate manner. If employees feel like they are experiencing harassment due to their sexual orientation, they should report this to a company manager immediately.
Other Considerations Regarding Discrimination in the Workplace
As well as company policy, there are many other considerations to keep in mind regarding appropriate behavior and language in the work place. First things first, check the local law in your region, as there can be differences between non-discrimination guidelines based on country, state, county, and city region. For those in the United States, the US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has some guidelines for helping your workplace comply with regulations. There are also some best practices that managers should instil, such as:
- Make sure to write inclusive language in EEO statements and job advertisements – be careful to avoid using the generic “he” when you’re referring to people of all genders, for example
- Introduce formal criteria for hiring, promoting, and rewarding team members – this will make the process more objective and reduce chances of personal bias and/or prejudice
- Provide accommodations to employees with disabilities if it means that they will be able to perform the core functions of their work efficiently
- Ask managers to write detailed records of the information informing their decision to promote, demote, or otherwise change the status of employees
- Try to offer benefits and compensation packages according to a person’s seniority, performance, qualifications and position, rather than other characteristics – don’t support the gender pay gap
The Bottom Line
While it’s difficult for every company to be completely fair and avoid discrimination of workforce members on the basis of any of the factors mentioned above, it’s essential to make positive changes that bring you in line with law and the times we’re living in. From your job ads to your equal opportunity policy, hopefully this has helped you to iron out your non-discrimination policies at your company. Good luck!