Most major cities are cosmopolitan kaleidoscopes, and this is reflected in the modern workplace. Employers who encourage and cultivate a diverse work environment have a wider array of creativity, skill, and unique perspectives to draw from, particularly in a global market where this becomes increasingly important. But when diversity remains unembraced by either employers or colleagues, the impact can be costly.
Although more recent data is not apparent, Seyferth Shaw LLP’s 2014 Workplace Class Action Litigation Report indicated that:
• There were 12,311 discrimination class action lawsuits filed in 2013.
• Because of the astronomical costs and potential bad press associated with litigation, many of these cases were settled out of court.
• In 2013, the cost of the 10 most expensive settlements totaled over $638 million.
• The largest settlement in 2013, $160 million, was paid out after a lawsuit was filed against an organization for racial discrimination, with pay discrepancies and unequal advancement opportunities evident. The case was settled out of court.
• The second largest payout of 2013 pertained to a suit that was filed against an organization because their workplace policies and practices were allegedly designed to systematically discriminate against female employees.
• These examples are joined by multiple other ones that demonstrate the cost and impact of workplace discrimination, including cases focused on discrimination based on age, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.
Embracing diversity is not just about protecting the bottom line, but also about ensuring an inclusive, safe work environment for the people who devote their time and energy to their jobs. We all see the world through the lenses which our contexts have afforded us, and it is only through experience, exposure, the ability to identify and adjust our biases – whether overt or implicit – and the consequent ability to place ourselves in others’ shoes, that we can start appreciating, rather than denigrating the differences among people.
Course 2: Diversity for All Employees Course
Course 4: Workplace Diversity for Employees Course
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