'Not all forms of discrimination are direct'
Discrimination can be defined as the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, or disability.
In the USA, 42% of people said they had faced discrimination in the workplace based on Gender and Race, compared with the UK where 37% of people reported discrimination based on Gender and 32% felt race-based discrimination.
Frankly, these numbers are way too high!
Discrimination in the workplace can lead to increased stress levels which in turn can impact a person's performance & quality of life. In this article, we are going to talk about Zero Discrimination Day, why it is celebrated, and steps you can take to help to eliminate discrimination from the workplace.
What is Zero Discrimination Day?
Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated internationally every March 1st to promote inclusion, compassion and movements for change. The celebration was first launched by the organisation UNAIDS in 2014, with a major event being held in Beijing. Their goal with the day is to prevent discrimination from ‘standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams, to allow ‘everyone to live a full and productive life.’ The day is also used as an opportunity to promote equality before the law throughout all of the UN’s member countries.
One area where it is essential to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their career in peace.
To help make sure your workplace has created a safe atmosphere, we’ve listed 4 things to keep an eye on in the workplace to prevent discrimination.
1. Knowing what your workplace’s policy on discrimination is
Most workplaces already have policies and procedures in place to respond to and prevent discrimination. Anti-discrimination policies should highlight an employee’s right to work in a professional environment, and outline what acceptable workplace behaviour is. If you’re unsure of what your workplace's equality policies are, you might want to talk with your management to find out if they have one in place. When interviewing for a job asking about policies and procedures can be great questions to show you have long term ambitions with the company.
2. Taking part in or providing anti-discrimination training
The best way to prevent discrimination is to make sure people are educated on what qualifies as discrimination in the first place. Your workplace may already be doing this by providing anti-discrimination training. If they aren’t you may want to suggest they do so and make sure whoever provides the training is in a qualified position to do so.
3. Make sure your workplace doesn’t impose discriminatory requirements
Not all forms of discrimination are direct. Sometimes workplace policies that seem innocuous may end up negatively impacting people with certain attributes. For instance, not allowing an employee time off to observe a religious holiday, or asking an employee with family responsibilities to work weekends. To prevent situations like this, an open dialogue should be created between employees and their managers and supervisors. That way, the employee can safely discuss what important attributes of their personal life they need to be able to maintain while working.
4. Handling complaints as delicately and confidentially as possible
If you or anyone you work with does have a discrimination complaint, it is best if it remains confidential. Involving unnecessary parties may complicate the situation and be more difficult to resolve. The important thing is to follow the company procedures and speak to those who it’s necessary to tell; this may be your line manager or HR.
Remember it is not your job to educate ignorant people especially if it disturbs your peace. Do your due diligence before joining a company, and if you feel you have been treated unfairly or your company hasn’t followed the policies put in place, seek professional advice.