We all come in different shapes and sizes – no two people are alike – and this has never been more prominent and important to bear in mind than it is in an increasingly globalized society, and by extension, an increasingly diverse work environment. Diversity in the workplace comes with its own unique opportunities, but can often lead to discrimination, whether through deliberate undue actions or in the form of unconscious, biased attitudes. It is in the best interest of everyone (perpetrators, victims, and observers alike) to recognize and constructively deal with the harmful effects of discrimination, and to learn to appreciate diversity.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 renders harassment in the form of discrimination as unlawful. This includes any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct as a result of:
• Sex (whether or not of a sexual nature and including same-gender harassment and gender identity harassment)
• Sexual orientation
• National origin
• Age (40 and over)
• Disability (mental or physical); or
• Retaliation (sometimes collectively referred to as “legally protected characteristics”)
Sometimes, discrimination can be more discreet. Although it is more obvious to spot outright discriminatory actions perpetrated against someone based on the attributes mentioned above, implicit or unconscious bias may also have a profound impact on the behavior and attitudes individuals may exhibit in the workplace.
Learning to recognize one’s own biases, in addition to actively employing strategies to overcome them will assist in creating a more inclusive work environment where individuals are treated with respect and fairness. One of the first steps an organization can take to develop and maintain a culture of inclusivity is to ensure that employees have sufficient opportunities to work together, which often has the effect of refuting unfounded biases or stereotypical beliefs about certain types of people. In educating employees about diversity and related issues, they will be better equipped to recognize unbecoming behavior in themselves and be more willing to intervene, and have the knowledge to do so appropriately according to workplace policies, should they witness discriminatory behavior taking place.
In Coggno’s own endeavor to facilitate an appreciation for diversity and eliminate discriminatory practices in the workplace, we have compiled a list of various online training courses created by experts in the field, to assist businesses in creating pro-diversity policies and interventions that are aligned with legislation and best practice to the benefit of employees from all walks of life. Most of these courses can be completed in under 30 minutes and are tailored to various business needs and budget requirements, with discounts applicable when acquiring a greater number of licenses:
The Confident Supervisor – Diversity Course by TrainingToday
$30.00 per license
Workplace Diversity for Employees Course by TrainingToday
$23.00 per license
Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace by Enspark
$24.95 per license
Reducing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace by Enspark
$24.95 per license
Discrimination and Harassment V2.16 Course by Safeworkday
$19.95 per license
We end off with a pertinent reminder by Max de Preez: “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”