Equity & Workplace Discrimination: What You Need to Know

Dr. Ryan Giffen

In this modern age, we greatly differ from each other (in the workplace especially). These differences may cause workplace discrimination, where employees are treated unfairly due to a particular characteristic. Equity is vital in every modern-day workplace. With the workplace changes induced by COVID-19, having a strong team is more important than ever. 

Workplace Changes 

Dealing with change, especially with the changes brought forth by COVID-19, is not easy for anyone in the workplace. Many are still working remotely or not working at all because of COVID-19. Your human resources department may be working on plans for your employee’s return, but have they considered how important equity will be during these times? Equity can keep a workplace from falling apart and makes your employee’s environment a happier, safe space. Dealing with change isn’t nearly as hard when your employees have equal chances and no discrimination. 

What is Equity? 

In the workplace, equity means that everyone is receiving fair chances and treatment. This will allow employees to have equal access to advancements and opportunities. Equity leads to happier and harder working employees. Each employee will feel valued; no employee has an advantage over the other. After seeing that they have a fair chance of advancing, your employee will work harder than an employee experiencing workplace discrimination. Retention will stay at an all-time high when every employee is valued.

How to Maintain Equity

For some companies, it may feel challenging to maintain equity due to the number of employees you have. However, in order for your employees to feel happy and appreciated, giving them an equal chance is vital. If you feel that you do not know your workers well enough to give them equal opportunities, it may be time for you or your managers to host an event that will allow you to get to know employees. 

What is Workplace Discrimination? 

Workplace discrimination involves holding an employee back or treating them unfairly due to their religion, race, age, sex, or disabilities. Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 making it unlawful to discriminate when hiring, employers unfortunately still hold bias over potential employees (and current employees). Employees who experience discrimination could be denied certain benefits, given a different salary, ignored in consideration for promotion, and more. The legal consequences of workplace discrimination can be severe, ranging in penalties from $50,000 to $300,000. 

How to Avoid Workplace Discrimination 

Take a hard look at your business. On the outside, you may feel that there is no way that workplace discrimination could happen within your company, but there are always cracks where it could occur. The best way to avoid workplace discrimination is to host frequent meetings or learning opportunities for workplace discrimination. Managers or owners who hear little about workplace discrimination are more likely to slip up. Making information readily available about workplace discrimination will not only help educate your employees, but will let them know that your company is against discrimination. 

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another.  Lastly, Dr. Giffen is producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast. a show helping everyday employees overcome workplace nonsense.