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How to Fight a Racist Work Environment?

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients Experiencing Racial Discrimination and Equality at Work.

Racial discrimination is an ongoing global issue affecting every area of life, including the workplace. The problem of workplace racism can be addressed if corporate leaders commit to identifying and correcting racial discrimination within the policies, processes, leadership, and staff, among other avenues. As organizations are making conscious efforts to improve diversity, equality, and inclusion, eliminating racism is a crucial starting point.

What Does Racism Look Like in the Workplace?

Racism in any environment can take many forms, including in the workplace, but some overall examples of workplace racism include:

  • Direct: Racial discrimination directly at one individual specifically due to their race, resulting in unfair treatment, demoted or denied promotions, not being allowed to interface directly with clients, and more.
  • Indirect: Racial discrimination through the employer’s policies or decisions that put individuals of a particular race at a disadvantage, specifically due to their race. Discrimination in those form could be policies such as a ban on certain types of headwear or hairstyles that directly affect employees of certain races.
  • Harassment: Derogatory comments, insults, threats of physical harm or employment consequences, and any other comments and behavior directed at a worker due to their race, creating a hostile work environment. This can be on behalf of the employer, supervisors, managers, coworkers or clients and frequently disrupts the targeted employee’s ability to successfully complete their work tasks.
  • Retaliation: Unfair or hostile treatment, demotion or denial of promotion, or unlawful termination in retaliation for submitting a race-related complaint or violation against an employer, coworkers, supervisors, or others.
  • Discipline: Non-white races of workers receiving more rules or more frequent or increased disciplinary actions, and scrutiny or criticism than their white counterparts.

What Are Some Ways to Combat Racism in the Workplace?

Excellence in leadership cannot be accomplished without proactively addressing racism in the workplace. Addressing diversity, equality, and inclusion can be complex and challenging, but must be handled properly and swiftly.

Tackling racism in the workplace benefits not only workers of any race, but business owners and businesses in general. Institutionalized racism is intertwined into organizations, processes, and systems that today that require ethical businesses to scrutinize and ultimately make true and positive changes. Actions toward eliminating racism in the workplace include:

  • Analyze and gather data: To begin making changes, businesses first need to investigate, analyze, and understand the forms of racism prevalent in the workplace and to the ethnicities disproportionally affected. Such diversity data should include the ethnicity of disciplined workers, ethnic make-up of teams at every level of seniority, and the pay gaps of different ethnicities and genders.
  • Be accountable: Approach racism with a commitment toward making positive change, which includes business owners and leaders holding themselves accountable and transparent, and conveying that to staff.
  • Examine processes: Revisit policies and processes regularly, and especially following a racist incident and what aspects of the culture permitted the incident. For many businesses, recruitment and line management tend to have discrimination and bias aspects, conscious or unconscious, that can be corrected, along with management education on unconscious bias.
  • Educate and train: Educating and training all staff members to understand and recognize racism is crucial to the success of removing it from the workplace and processes. Management teams must understand and apply equality, diversity, and inclusion in their everyday experiences and be able to educate and tackle racism within their teams.
  • Study systemic racism: Racist incidents at work often fall on the shoulders of the employee blamed. However, culpability typically falls on others within the business or the business itself, such as what policies or processes allowed the incident to happen in the first place. Racism in the workplace should be viewed as a symptom of the systems in place, and therefore change the systems.
  • Query the staff: One of the best methods of understanding what forms of racism exist in the workplace is to listen to the groups who are experiencing discrimination, do not disregard complaints, and ask employees how they can be better supported.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients Experiencing Racial Discrimination and Equality at Work

If you are experiencing racial discrimination in your place of employment, our knowledgeable and experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. will help you fight for the equality you deserve and hold your employer accountable for the incidents of racism. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We are located in Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.