So far in our series on discrimination we have looked at recruitment and the definition of discrimination itself. In today’s post we will look at what discrimination looks like in the workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace, like most aspects of the issue, can be avoided through good old common sense. However, it is always worthwhile noting that the best way to prevent discrimination is to be fully aware of what it is and how it can be presented. This way, you will always be looking out for the welfare of your employees and their self-esteem.
These are some examples of how discrimination can be presented in a workplace situation:
Failing to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled worker. This is a key issue, and the majority of employers ensure that adjustments are made. If a disabled worker feels that the adjustments are not appropriate to their needs, or if the employer has not sought advice on the adjustments, there could be a serious problem.
- If you fire someone because they are a union member. This has happened in the past in many workplaces and is a clear case of discrimination. The nature of someone’s union membership is of no consequence when looking at his or her suitability for employment, and firing someone due to membership is clear discrimination.
- If a family member makes a completely reasonable request for flexible working, and an employer refuses it, this is again discrimination. Some employers may be best advised to look carefully at the issues around flexible working, because there have been some significant changes in this area in recent months
- Having a discussion about retirement, but only talking to older members of staff, rather than younger ones. This is viewed as discrimination
Generally speaking, if you are choosing to take some action or have a discussion with someone who has certain protected characteristics, and you are not respecting those characteristics through your words and actions, then this can be viewed as discrimination.