Board Coverting News, August 31, 2020

Race In The Workplace (CONT’D FROM PAGE 24)


Gatling. “They should cover all aspects of employment in- cluding hiring, evaluations, promotions, and raises.” Written policies should also: • Prohibit insensitive statements: “People need to under- stand they have a duty to avoid making racially charged jokes or comments,” says Gregg. “And if they see a co- worker doing either, they must speak up and say, ‘Hey, look, that is not appropriate for our workplace.’” • Such language must be prohibited even if the individu- al using it belongs to a protected group. “Many people will use loaded terms among themselves, making jokes that would be highly offensive if done by someone else,” says Gregg. “People need to understand if it is not appropriate for one person, it is not appropriate for anyone.” • Outlaw bullying: “Courts have said repeatedly that bul- lying is the glide path to harassment under the law,” says Gregg. “While it may not at first mention race or sex, as bullying continues people will start to pick up on the fact that it’s happening to individuals who belong to certain groups.” • Require reporting: Employees should understand that they are required to report anything they experience (or see) in the workplace that may relate to harassment or discrimination. “The reporting mechanism should include some individuals who are outside the victim’s chain of command because the one committing the discrimination or harassment may be that person’s su- pervisor,” says Gatling. “It’s also a good idea to provide for anonymous reporting by setting up a hotline.” • Require response to reports: “Ignoring a report of ha- rassment or discrimination can put your business in le- gal jeopardy,” says Gatling. “You should do a thorough investigation, which means talking to every witness possible. Then you should take action on the results. You also should keep good documentation on how you investigated, and to get back to the victim to let them know what has transpired.” • Prohibit retaliation: “People need to know there will be no consequences if they come forward with a re- port about harassment or discrimination,” says Gatling. “While the law prohibits retaliation, it’s always helpful to remind people and supervisors of that fact and of your organization’s policy prohibiting it.” Make sure everyone realizes the policies exist to en- sure fairness and profitability. “Employees need to know that the purpose of good company policies is to have an effective workplace, not to simply comply with the law,” says Gregg. “The organization is paying attention to this topic because racial inequality and discrimination can harm the company.” Communication While having the right diversity and inclusion policies is vital, they also must be communicated adequately to

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August 31, 2020

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