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NYC Litigation Blog

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

There are both state and federal laws in place that prohibit racial discrimination in the workplace. The being said it is the responsibility of all of us, employers, employees, coworkers, to do what we can to prevent racial discrimination from occurring in the workplace. While this may involve all of confronting uncomfortable topics and uncomfortable situations, it is an integral part in fighting workplace racial discrimination.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

In order to be proactive in preventing racial discrimination in the workplace, employers should consider training on racial bias. These types of training may include things such as first-person accounts of experiencing racial bias in the workplace and the emotional as well as the psychological impact these types of experiences can have on a person confronted with sometimes daily occurrences involving racism. Making the trainings personal, such as group discussions about individual experiences as well as theories of race relations, can have a big impact on employees. Racial bias training does not necessarily need to be a whole separate training but could instead by integrated into other trainings such as trainings for management and professional development.

Racial bias trainings can also help an employer create a safe space for having difficult conversations about race. Openly confronting these issues can foster an inclusive environment where people feel safe exploring and expressing their concerns to people such as those in management or to HR professionals. This comfort can help ensure that a continuous conversation about complicated employment issues remains steady and, therefore, have a more lasting impact on the work environment.

Employers may also want to invest in conducting internal research in order to identify possible areas where bias may be pervasive or dictate employment decisions and outcomes. Not all biased aspects of employment may be outright discriminatory, but the nature of a policy may be discriminatory in its application. Internal research on potential biases may result in a company taking steps such as updating job discriminations or utilizing software to initially screen applicants as opposed to human judgment. These are all things that can help level the playing field and prevent racial discrimination.

It can also be important for employer, employees, clients, and potential employees to be aware of the laws in place that address racial discrimination in the workplace. Title IIV of the Civil Rights Act is the federal law in place to prohibit workplace racial discrimination. In addition to encouraging a supportive work environment, complying with federal laws such as Title VII can also help a company avoid massive legal headaches.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also has recommendations for how race discrimination in the workplace may be prevented. These recommendations include:

  • Respecting cultural and racial differences in the workplace
  • Maintaining professional conduct and speech in the workplace
  • Refusing to initiate, participate, or condone discrimination and harassment
  • Avoiding race-based or culturally offensive humor or pranks
  • Familiarizing yourself with the company’s workplace policies and act responsibly
  • Being pro-active in reporting incidences of inappropriate, discriminatory, harassing, or abusive behavior to your supervisor, Human Resources department, union or management

Employment Discrimination Attorney

For more information on how to prevent racial discrimination in the workplace or for help addressing incidences of racial discrimination in the workplace, Thomas M. Lancia PLLC is here for you. Contact us today.


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