Discrimination Training: Its Necessity In The Workplace

Discrimination training is a critical component in recognizing and combating workplace harassment and discrimination, as well as fostering a culture of respect, decency, and inclusiveness.

Employee and management training on what is and isn’t appropriate conduct, as well as what workers can do to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, may help a business avoid expensive lawsuits and violations that can put a negative impact on its brand, recruitment, and retention, efficiency, and profits.

What is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Workplace discrimination is when a worker is treated unfairly because of his or her gender, sexuality, race, religion, and disability. A female worker can be ill-treated because of pregnancy, and maternity too.

You might be breaking the law if you handle someone differently because they have different traits than other members. When an employee is not treated properly when compared to other workers, this is known as direct discrimination. For example, the worker has the necessary credentials for the position, but you refuse to hire her because you believe she will soon want to build a family of her own.

Direct discrimination can also happen when you pay a worker less than other workers for no rationale. For example, if you choose certain workers for downsizing based on specific characteristics or if you don’t make rational accommodations for a disabled worker, if you fire a worker for making discrimination accusations, or if you wrongfully reject a new parent’s application for flexible working hours.

When certain laws or regulations put particular workers at a disadvantage, this is termed as indirect discrimination. If you need all employees to work on Sundays, for example, you may be regarded as discriminating against Christians who believe Sunday to be a day of worship.

Discrimination in the Workplace: Different Types

Discrimination in the workplace can happen when an employee is treated unfairly because of one or more of the following factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Skin Color
  • National Origin
  • Mental or Physical Disability
  • Genetic Information
  • Relationship with someone who may be subjected to discrimination
  • Pregnancy or Parenthood

Discrimination in the Workplace: In-depth Examples

  • Discrimination based on age in the workplace

In the US, age discrimination is prohibited. Companies are prohibited from mentioning an age preference in employment adverts, with a few exceptions.

Workers must get the same perks regardless of age, with the caveat that additional benefits for young employees must cost the same as decreased benefits for senior workers. Age discrimination in apprenticeship or internship programs is also prohibited.

  • Discrimination against people with disabilities

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 1990 makes it unlawful to discriminate based on disability against eligible job seekers or workers. Employers cannot decline to recruit handicapped candidates or penalize disabled workers solely because of their disability. On almost the same principles as the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 forbids discrimination in government employment.

  • Discrimination based on gender and sex in the workplace

Employers must pay men and women equally for equal labor, according to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Furthermore, the statute states that “whether positions are equivalent” is determined by work substance rather than title. Discrimination based on sex is likewise prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In other words, it is against the law for companies to pay men and women different incomes depending on their gender or sex.

  • Discrimination against LGBTQ people

In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that an “employer that terminates a person solely because that said person is homosexual or transgender violates Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act. Before the judgment, LGBTQ candidates were protected against discrimination in the workplace in just about half of the states in the United States.

  • Discrimination based on race in the workplace

It is prohibited to treat a job candidate or worker unfairly because of their race or personal qualities linked to race. Color discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly because of their skin color or complexion. In fact, it is prohibited too.

  • Discrimination based on religion in the workplace

Company heads are forbidden from discriminating against employees based upon their religious beliefs. Businesses must make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s religious views if doing so does not have a significant detrimental impact on the company.

  • Discrimination in the workplace due to pregnancy

Discrimination based on pregnancy is prohibited. Employers must treat pregnancy in the same manner that they would treat a brief sickness or other non-permanent condition that requires particular attention. Workers and job seekers have the same rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which was passed in 1978.

Steps Companies Can Take To Avoid Discriminating

If you want to remain on the right side of the law as a company, you must be proactive in avoiding discrimination.

  • Recruitment

Discrimination may be avoided even before you hire someone. Make sure your ad does not discriminate by utilizing specific phrases, such as the term “office girl,” which may imply that only women should apply. Other phrases, such as “very experienced,” should only be used when they are real job requirements; otherwise, you risk discriminating against someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to obtain any experience. You must also treat all applicants equally, asking them the same set of questions and avoiding queries that come under protected characteristics, such as asking someone whether they plan to establish a family soon.

  • Policy

Establish a policy of equal opportunity. In fact, this should include the protected traits, direct and indirect discrimination, as well as acceptable and unacceptable workplace behavior. It will provide the groundwork for a safe and courteous workplace for your workers, and it will assist workers in understanding their rights and obligations, reducing the chance of you mistakenly discriminating against them. By doing so, you will demonstrate to them that you are a caring employer who believes in equal opportunity as well as it will ensure that they are all treated equally by having such a policy in place.

  • Education

Educate your employees about discrimination and inform them of your anti-discrimination policy. Include information about it in their job contract and employee handbook, if you have one. Discrimination training may also be incorporated into your onboarding process so that workers are aware of the dos and don’ts from the start.

  • Respect

You should urge your employees to respect one other’s differences as part of the corporate culture.

  • Resolve complaints quickly

If a worker does make a discrimination complaint, you should respond immediately and confidentially. Ensure you have a solid complaints mechanism in place so that employees feel heard and that their views are valued at work.

  • Training

Educate your managers and supervisors to recognize situations of discrimination and how to deal with them, along with providing basic discrimination training as part of the onboarding process for recently joined employees.

  • Enforcement

It’s indeed nice to have a discrimination policy in the company. However, it’s useless if you merely follow it on paper. In fact, you must ensure that it is adequately enforced and that your employees are confident in its validity.

  • Review

You should review your policy from time to time to ensure that it is still effective and make any required revisions.


You should create a pleasant and healthy work environment with discrimination training that allows all of your employees to feel secure and happy at work, regardless of their color, gender, beliefs, or any other trait. In fact, by doing so, you may unlock long-term potential and build an atmosphere that supports your company’s success.

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