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Webucator's Free Workplace Diversity Tutorial

Lesson: Diversity Discrimination

Welcome to our free Workplace Diversity tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Diversity Training for Employees and Managers course.

Discrimination comes in many forms and it is essential to stop harassment and discrimination immediately. Preventing discrimination before it occurs is even better. This lesson describes how to help prevent discrimination, how to identify discrimination when it occurs, and how to report discrimination.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about prevention methods for diversity discrimination.
  • Learn how to identify diversity discrimination.
  • Learn how to report diversity discrimination.

Prevention

The best way to handle diversity discrimination is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Education and proper anti-discrimination policies are important ways to support prevention.

  1. Promote tolerance and diversity awareness by showing employees the benefits of a diverse workplace.
    1. A diverse team offers more opinions and ideas that create more opportunities for success.
    2. People with different ways of thinking provide more solutions when problems arise.
    3. Diverse groups enhance creativity within the team and encourage innovation.
    4. A diverse team helps create a stronger, more intelligent team that learns from each other.
  2. Enforce a strict policy against discrimination.
    1. Make sure the policy clearly defines appropriate and inappropriate behavior and that employees clearly understand the policy.
    2. Make sure all employees know who to contact with questions or to file a complaint.
    3. Take appropriate action when a complaint is made.
  3. Educate employees on the effects of discrimination and harassment.
    1. Discrimination and harassment can have devastating effects on individuals and teams. Examples of this include low self-esteem, low productivity because of fear, etc.
    2. Individuals can be physically or psychologically abused.
    3. Discrimination and harassment can affect work performance or cause someone to resign.

Understanding How to Prevent Diversity Discrimination

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

Answer the following questions and then discuss as a class.

  1. All of the following are benefits of a diverse workplace except which one?
    1. More opinions and ideas.
    2. More solutions.
    3. Better food choices at the company potluck.
    4. More creativity.
    5. Stronger, more intelligent team that learns from each other.
  2. Why is it important that a company take appropriate action when a complaint is made?

Solution:

  1. C. Better food choices at the company potluck. Although this might be true in certain situations, it would be a stereotype and has nothing to do with working at a company.
  2. If employees contact HR, and nothing is resolved, they will not trust the company to take action in the future. The next time an incident occurs they will either ignore it, quit their job, or file a lawsuit.

Identifying Diversity Discrimination

Like other forms of harassment, diversity discrimination is illegal. Employment discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/harassment.cfm states:

"Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information."

This means that all members of diverse groups are protected against discrimination and harassment.

Harassment Offensive Actions

Indirect Harassment

Indirect offensive actions include offensive jokes or pictures in the workplace. This could be an email or a poster in a cubicle that makes people uncomfortable. Often offenders will quickly stop the behavior if told that it is offending others.

Direct Harassment

Direct offensive actions include name calling, insults, and mockery. This behavior is intentional and targets an individual or group.

Threats and physical assault are more severe examples of direct offensive actions. These actions are intentional with a direct targeted victim or victims. This behavior needs to be reported immediately, even if there is only one occurrence.

Discrimination Offensive Actions

It is illegal to deny a person a job, promotion, raise, or any work benefit based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

There are certain diversity characteristics or groups that may not be legally protected, but a company can still protect their employees from harassment and discrimination of all kinds. An example of this is sexual orientation.

Understanding How to Identify Discrimination

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

Answer the following questions and then discuss as a class.

  1. Which of the following is NOT one of the classes protected by harassment laws?
    1. Race
    2. Religion
    3. Age
    4. Disability
    5. National Origin
    6. Marital status
    7. Genetic Information
    8. Sex
  2. Which of the following is an offensive harassment action?
    1. A joke is sent through personal email that makes fun of certain races. An employee shares the joke with a few of his co-workers.
    2. A woman has a calendar hung up in her cubicle with pictures of firemen with limited clothing.
    3. A co-worker threatens an Asian employee because he feels that he was laid-off because the company needed an Asian employee to meet their quota.
    4. All of the above.
  3. Which of the following is NOT a discrimination offensive action?
    1. A hiring manager chooses not to hire a candidate because she is a blonde woman.
    2. A supervisor gives the male employees higher raises than the female employees.
    3. A supervisor gives a promotion to an employee that is the oldest on the team and has the most experience and is the most qualified person on the team.

Solution:

  1. F. Marital Status
  2. D. All of the Above
  3. C. The employee received the promotion because he or she was the most qualified candidate, not because of his or her age.

Taking Action against Diversity Discrimination

If you or someone you know at work is a victim of discrimination or harassment, it is time to act. Follow these steps:

  1. Tell the harasser to stop. Whether you are the victim, a bystander, or a manager, approach the person directly and explain that their behavior is unacceptable. In certain situations, direct conversation is not easy or possible. Writing a letter or email is perfectly acceptable. Make sure to keep a copy of the letter.
  2. Keep a record. Write down any details about the incidents including dates and times. If there are multiple incidents, explain each in detail. Write down if there were any witnesses and who was involved. Keep a record of any time you report an incident and any communications you have.
  3. Tell someone. Report the incident, or incidents, to a supervisor or to human resources immediately. Keep a record of any report you give. A formal complaint or grievance should be created by a member of human resources gathering details from the victim. The company will then conduct an investigation.

If you do not get a timely or helpful response from your company, you can contact the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) to file a formal complaint. Hopefully it is unnecessary, but after this step you can decide to take legal action and sue the company.

Understanding How to Take Action

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

Answer the following questions and then discuss as a class.

  1. What should a victim or witness do if they do not feel comfortable telling a harasser face to face to stop what they are doing?
    1. Write a letter
    2. Have a co-worker confront the harasser
    3. Ignore the harasser
    4. Contact Human Resources
  2. True or False: The victim and any witnesses should keep a record of any details related to the harassment or discrimination.
  3. If you do not get a timely or helpful response from your company after reporting an incident, who should you contact?

Solution:

  1. A. or D. Depending on the situation, the best option is to write a letter or to contact Human Resources.
  2. True. Keep copies of any email or letters and document any dates, times and details.
  3. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)