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March 29, 2024

Running a workplace that supports diversity and inclusion is more important today than ever. Companies that consider and accommodate workers’ needs foster healthier work environments. That gives you happier employees with a higher quality of life.

However, employee needs aren’t the only reason to seriously consider where a company might lack in the department of diversity and inclusion.

Public discussions around topics like gender identity, racial equality, and disability accommodations are everywhere. It’s led to a social climate that often puts employers at risk of needing to hire a discrimination defense lawyer when employees lodge complaints and allegations.

If you run a company, you can’t afford to ignore issues involving inclusivity and equity. Knowing and addressing how your company might miss the mark in these areas is essential for cultivating a productive workplace and guarding against discrimination lawsuits.

Consider Current Problem Areas

It’s hard to improve inclusivity and equity at your company if you don’t have a clear idea of the current issues plaguing your workplace culture. For a strategic revision of inclusivity, you must first take stock of what is and isn’t working.

Diversity initiatives typically hit upon the primary areas of:

  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Cultural background
  • Country of origin

Some workplaces may not have glaring problem areas. However, it’s common for management to be aware of issues in a specific area, such as gender disparities in the employee base or racial tensions around the office.

Taking stock of the most noticeable inclusivity and equity issues in your company is essential for identifying the changes that can lead to the most productive results.

Conduct a Comprehensive Assessment

Rolling out initiatives and altering policies that address a company’s more glaring inclusivity problem areas is an effective way to address the needs of the greatest number of employees while expending the least amount of effort.

However, it’s not enough to protect your company from only those concerns that have the highest chance of leading to the need for a discrimination defense lawyer. Every single employee’s needs should be considered and accommodated.

Management must take stock of all areas that can lead to employee complaints. If you have a racially diverse workforce but few employees with disabilities, it makes sense to start by examining strategies for racial inclusion and equity. However, remember that the work isn’t done just because the majority have been considered.

Employers need to set up their workplaces to accommodate the needs of all employees. Conduct an assessment of the most common types of workplace issues that discrimination defense lawyers handle. From there, it’s easier to see where additional changes need to be made, even if they don’t impact the majority of employees.

Set Inclusivity and Equity Goals

Identifying problem areas, overlooked concerns, and the inclusivity issues that are most obvious in a specific company are all strategic moves that allow employers to begin rolling out changes to company culture and practices.

The observations of a management team can be used to identify a set of inclusivity and equity goals the workplace needs to begin striving for. Examples of concrete goals that a company might work toward to support diversity and inclusion include:

  • Setting goals for diversity in management
  • Offering diversity training initiatives
  • Creating a system for addressing grievances and complaints
  • Documenting discriminatory issues in personnel files
  • Offering mentorship programs
  • Regularly collecting employee feedback
  • Respecting the religious and cultural holidays of all employees
  • Ensuring technologies and facilities are fully accessible

At a broad level, every employer should ensure their company has certain elements in place. Examples of non-negotiables include disability accommodations and clear policies for addressing discriminatory behavior.

However, truly transforming work culture to be equitable and inclusive requires identifying specific issues and taking concrete steps to address them.

Your employees themselves can be a valuable asset in this process. Sending out requests for anonymous feedback or implementing a blind comment system gives employees a voice and allows you to hear directly from the people on your staff about the specific issues they view as the most pressing areas needing improvement.

Consider Hiring and Promotion Practices

Working toward a work environment that fosters equity and inclusion requires a mix of short- and long-term strategies. Respecting employees’ holidays of all religious and cultural backgrounds is a small step that can be rolled out quickly. However, it can go a long way toward helping employees feel valued, seen, and respected.

In other areas, achieving equity demands a long-term strategy and a commitment to making major changes as needed.

Two areas that can have a large impact on diversity and equity are hiring and promotion practices. Policies and procedures in these areas determine the makeup of a company’s overall workforce and guide the actions of the individuals in charge of making decisions.

Using a blind hiring policy, in which gender, names, and other personal identifiers are veiled, can help reduce bias in the hiring process. Establishing a metrics system to gauge employee readiness for promotion is another possible strategy.

Such systems help ensure that discrimination isn’t a factor while considering which employees are ready to move into a position of heightened responsibility.

Contact a Discrimination Defense Lawyer for Help With Workplace Inclusion Issues

Actively working to address and change areas where inclusion and equity aren’t adequately fostered can take time and effort. However, it’s a concern that no employer can afford to overlook. Inequitable work environments are a liability, both from a business standpoint and a legal one.

Eliminating bias and discrimination at work saves employers from facing allegations that lead to costs like hiring a discrimination defense lawyer or paying out over discrimination lawsuits. Implementing strategies that facilitate inclusion and equity is a smart business move. These strategies protect your company, ensure your workforce and management team are composed of the most qualified candidates, and reduce the risk of talent loss and employee conflict.

Ready to ensure your workplace fosters inclusion and equity while minimizing legal risks? Contact Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP today for expert guidance tailored to your organization’s needs.


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