HR Management & Compliance

Employment Law Tip: Practical Tips to Avoid Race Claims

Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 27,000 race discrimination complaints, a good indication that employers should be paying closer attention to how they can avoid race bias disputes in their own workplaces. Here are some practical tips you can use: 

  1. Include antiharassment and antidiscrimination policies in your employee handbook. Periodically remind workers about your policies.
  2. Notify employees that they won’t be retaliated against for complaints of discrimination.
  3. Investigate all complaints promptly and thoroughly.
  4. Impose appropriate discipline on any employee who violates your antiharassment or discrimination policies.  
  5. When making employment decisions, whether for hire, promotion, etc., be sure to scrupulously document the legitimate, objective reasons for selecting a candidate, and make sure your decisions are supported by the job requirements (such as job descriptions).
  6. Provide training for managers on the need to use objective standards in decisionmaking.
  7. Train managers on how to identify and respond effectively to harassment.
  8. Prohibit racial jokes, slurs, epithets, name-calling, insults, or teasing. 
  9. Avoid hiring practices that could screen out certain racial or ethnic groups. For example, if your workforce is predominantly white, relying mostly on word-of-mouth referrals could create a barrier for employment of African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, or other groups.
  10. Examine whether your appearance and grooming standards may implicate race discrimination. For example, while you can require that hair be neat, clean, and well-groomed, your rules must respect racial differences in hair textures and styles.

Additional Resource:

            U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Race/Color discrimination

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