The current national conversation on race should be a reminder to clean up our own workplace. It should cause us to have a keener ear about the conversations occurring in our offices, shops, warehouses, and worksites. It should cause us to review our policies and look at the last time the workforce was trained on core civil rights and equal employment issues. And, it should cause us to have conversations with supervisors about the kind of work environment we want to foster and educate ourselves on how to improve our business through tolerance and diversity.
Review your policies, and not just superficially. Policies that result in disparate treatment, are those policies that on their face discriminate against employees who are in a protected class. For example, having two different evaluation processes for males and females, or having only African American applicants take pre-employment skills tests, are unlawful because of the way in which they treat people in protected classes. Policies that when applied have a disparate impact on a protected group are not discriminatory on their face, but when applied have a discriminatory result. For example, a hiring practice that results in the selection of white men may impact women and minorities disproportionately. Similarly, an employer with a largely white workforce that recruits only by referral or word of mouth, discriminates against minorities because its recruiting policy is unlikely to reach diverse applicant groups.
Take a look at the Department of Labor Regional Statistics (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/census-data) on race and determine whether your workforce models the regional census for diverse groups. Does your workforce look like the people you serve?
Educate yourself by looking at other perspectives that test stereotypes and unconscious bias. For instance:
-Robin DiAngelo, Anti-racism trainer and author
-Glenn Singleton, Courageous Conversation, Anti-racism trainer.
-Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
There are myriad ways to begin to evaluate and integrate tolerance and diversity into your workplace. It does not have to happen overnight, but weeks that go by without effort are weeks where your business does not benefit from valuable human resources and you expose your business to costly and unnecessary liability for failing to do what is right and legally required.