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Recognize and avoid subtle discrimination in your business

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2020 | Business & Commercial Litigation

As an employer, you must follow numerous laws to ensure that you treat your employees fairly. While you may think that you and your management team comply with those laws, some workers may not feel that you are doing everything possible to prevent discrimination in the workplace. In fact, a worker could bring a legal claim against you and your business if he or she believes that unfair treatment is taking place.

Though you may not believe that any type of blatant discriminatory action has occurred, the possibility exists that more subtle discrimination has. It is vital that you pay attention to how your management team and you handle certain scenarios in the workplace, and have the ability to recognize more subtle signs of discrimination.

Avoiding subtle discrimination

When many people think of discriminatory actions, behaviors like using racial slurs, harassing workers, unjustly firing employees, making sexist jokes and more often come to mind. However, these examples show more blatant forms of discrimination. Some subtle signs to watch out for include the following:

  • Paying a worker less than others without valid reason
  • Denying a worker a promotion despite having the necessary qualifications
  • Lacking diversity in the workplace
  • Disciplining a worker for actions that other culpable workers did not receive reprimand for

Though you may not believe that you or your management team would ever pay a worker less due to gender, refuse a promotion due to race, or not hire a worker due to religion, race, gender or disability, these biases can exist in any workplace. Some people may not realize that they have acted in a discriminatory manner, but if a worker calls out the behavior, serious issues could result.

Addressing legal claims

Hopefully, you could avoid a legal claim if you and other management staff properly address any complaints of discrimination brought by employees. In the event that you, your management team or your company as a whole faces claims of discrimination, you will certainly want to handle the matter as well as possible.

Even subtle forms of discrimination can lead to lengthy litigation and possible compensation owed to affected employees. As a result, you may want to thoroughly assess your workplace to ensure that all staff members learn to recognize biases that could inadvertently lead to discriminatory actions. In the event that you do face a discrimination-related lawsuit, remember that you can work with an experienced Massachusetts employment law attorney to find your best defense options.