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Tips for creating an anti-discrimination policy

One of the best things you can do for your small business is adopting an anti-discrimination policy. Not only will this help prevent discrimination from taking place, but it will also reduce the chances of you being on the receiving end of an employee complaint

You may assume that anti-discrimination laws are enough. However, a policy can help employees feel more welcome and establish procedures for dealing with inappropriate behavior. Here are some areas to consider covering with your anti-discrimination handbook.

Establish your commitment to a safe workplace

One goal of creating a policy is to let your workers know that your company is sincere in preventing discrimination from happening. Consider starting your policy with a clear statement that no discriminatory behavior will be tolerated. This is often called a zero tolerance policy.

Explain what your policy covers

List all protected characteristics, including:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy

Additionally, you may want to include examples of the type of conduct that the policy prohibits. This may include slurs, symbols, insults and images. But be clear that it is just a list of examples and that you cannot include every possible behavior.

Inform employees of repercussions

Workers need to know that there are consequences to discriminatory actions. Advise employees that any prohibited conduct may result in disciplinary actions, including termination. 

Include complaint procedures

A robust policy should explain how the complaint process works. This may lay out how employees can report violations. A common method is to allow workers to go to certain managers or human resource representatives. It is a good idea to ensure employees have at least two options to bring reports to, just in case someone responsible for handling complaints is facing accusations of discrimination. 

You may never be able to stop every act of discrimination, but enacting a strong policy and informing all workers of it is a good preventive measure.

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