Ways Pennsylvania employers can prevent workplace discrimination

Proper training, hiring a diverse group of employees and communicating with employees are a few ways to help prevent workplace discrimination.

Oftentimes, the best time to prepare for a disaster is well before one happens, and that is most certainly true when it comes to trouble in the workplace. Northeastern Pennsylvania employers should not only familiarize themselves with the definition of employment discrimination, but also what they can do to minimize their risk of becoming involved in a discrimination case.

Educate employees

Every business should have a written policy concerning discrimination that matches federal and state laws. Heading trouble off at the pass also involves making sure workers are aware of what the company considers discriminatory behavior, how it is handled and what they can do to avoid being accused of it. This education includes a full overview of the issue at the time of a new employee's training, and then periodic trainings to remind staff members of the rules and guidelines.

Let employees know how to report it

Should discrimination occur in the workplace, it is important that employees know the proper channels to go through to report unjust treatment and the right way to report it. Setting up a human resources system may save an abundance of time and help show staff the company takes such cases seriously. Additionally, the person handling the potential discrimination case should be well-versed in such matters to ensure everything is handled legally, wholly and to everyone's satisfaction.

Take steps to add diversity to the workforce

Depending on an employee's personal history, he or she may not have been exposed to people from different backgrounds. Employers who make an effort to diversify their workforce give their staff the opportunity to work with people of different races, ethnic groups, sexual orientations, age groups and handicaps. While learning about different people, employees also gain a deeper understanding of how certain actions, words and behaviors might be viewed as offensive, thereby decreasing the chances of an employment complaint.

Remain in touch with employee needs

What is considered offensive or discriminative often changes over time, making it necessary for employers to regularly touch bases with their employees to ensure they always feel the work environment is safe, comfortable and aware of their unique needs. Besides improving the work environment, businesses might also have the chance to show employees they care about their well-being and respect them, thus building workplace morale and developing staff loyalty.

While not every instance of workplace discrimination in Pennsylvania is preventable, proper preparation and employee/employer education usually go a long way. For those times where training and being proactive are not enough, it is often best to consult with a local law firm that has a history of successfully handling workplace discrimination cases.