Laws Protecting Diversity In The Workplace: 4 Most Important Ones

Laws protecting diversity in the workplace were established to safeguard employees from unjust treatment by organizations and coworkers. Also, these laws got amended from time to time to meet the cultural and technological modifications relating to race, sex, and religion, equal pay, or nondiscrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sustains these regulations and can sue organizations when the complaints of diverse employees do not resolve the issues they encounter in the workplace. Therefore, it is crucial that employees comprehend their rights and that companies rigorously follow these laws that need them to treat employees with righteousness.

What Does Diversity in the Workplace Entail?

As the world evolves to be more diverse, organizations are now accountable for providing their workforce with an equitable and secure work atmosphere. In today’s society, workplace diversity can have multiple meanings. 

However, it commonly comprises employees with varying attributes, such as diverse gender, sex, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Therefore, organizations must have the appropriate training and administration for a diverse workplace. 

Also, lack of workplace diversity can lead to illegal actions, behavior, and unjust work practices. Moreover, employers accountable for facilitating and implementing workplace diversity must remain up to date with the diversity-related laws. These laws act as a guide for better organizational diversity compliance. 

Top Laws That Protect Workplace Diversity 

Having solid legal expertise helps organizations gain a competitive advantage that reduces business exposure to legal risk. Also, with a working understanding of existing workplace laws and their real-world applications, they remain more compliant and avoid unwarranted lawsuits while safeguarding the rights of esteemed employees. 

Below are some of the top workplace diversity-related laws that help protect the rights of every employee. 

1. The Equality Act 2006

The Equality Act 2006 appointed a regulatory body known as the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. This regulation states that the public obligation of this regulatory body is to promote and sustain the growth of a community that appreciates the person’s human rights and motivates individuals to accomplish their potential without being restricted by bias or prejudice. 

2. The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 incorporated more than 116 articles of legislation into a single law. Some legislation brought jointly include the Equality Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. Also, Chapter 1 of this Equal Pay Act expressly mentions organizations. 

Under this act, a company cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants during their employment. For instance, a business must make appropriate adjustments when employing a person with a disability. 

The act likewise states that organizations cannot treat one employee (or job applicant) better or worse than another fellow worker because of a protected characteristic. The following attributes that remain protected under the Equality Act, 2010 are as follows:  

  • Age
  • Disability 
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

In addition, it is likewise unlawful to discriminate indirectly because of a protected attribute. An instance of indirect prejudice would be a procedure of only offering applicants a specific job if they could go because of the need to get to and from client sessions. It might indirectly discriminate against people with a physical disability as they cannot drive due to their disability. 

3. The Civil Rights Act: Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – 1964 is another law that helps protect workplace diversity. This Civil Rights Act further makes it unlawful to discriminate against any person due to their race, religion, sex, national origin, or sexual orientation.  

Apart from this, the Civil Rights Act also prohibit sexual harassment and the law defines sexual harassment as any undesirable sexual advance or favors and other spoken or bodily harassment of a sexual nature that includes sexual harassment when requesting to or refusal for this behavior directly or indirectly influences a person’s work, unreasonably interrupts with a person’s work routine or makes an intimidating, aggressive or abusive work environment. 

4. Workplace Safety Laws

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) ensures employees in every organization always work in safe working conditions. Apart from this, another rule in this legislation that helps safeguard the security of your workforce is workers’ compensation laws. These rules delineate the management of disability programs that aid federal employees who get injured on their job or become handicapped while on duty.

Tips for Creating a Legally Compliant Diverse Workplace 

Below are some tips that can help you create a legally compliant diverse workplace. 

  • Execute a robust equal employment policy

Organizations must execute a robust equal employment opportunity policy implemented throughout all levels. Also, a substantial equal employment opportunity policy should incorporate a detailed description of the forbidden conduct. 

In addition, it should comprise evident and reasonable assurances that if employees file complaints or present data related to those complaints, the organization will safeguard employees from retribution. The employees must believe that the company will take prompt and suitable remedial measures if any discrimination happens in the workplace. 

Once this policy comes into action, companies must train supervisors, managers, and employees on its contents to implement the policy that will set the benchmark and expectations that organizations have for their employees.

  • Ensure that you train your employees and supervisors 

The United States EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) remains accountable for implementing national laws that make it illegal to distinguish an employee or a job applicant based on their race, religion,  color, sex, or gender identity.  

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) suggests that Human Resources leaders and employees get adequate training on equal employment opportunity regulations. Training and mentoring programs equip employees of all backgrounds with the skill, opportunities, experience, and knowledge required to work well and improve workplace diversity. 

During the diversity training for your workforce, it is crucial to remind employees of the organizational policies that are in place. All employees must be held responsible for their acts, and the administrators must take prompt and suitable punitive action if there are any violations. 

  • Nurture an inclusive workplace culture 

In modern times, organizations own accountability to implement inclusivity practices in their workplace. A diverse staff symbolizes a variety of life backgrounds and distinctive skill sets. All of these individuals need to feel appreciated and welcomed into the organization. Inclusion does not happen exclusively because diverse individuals are present, but it requires an action to build an inclusive workplace. 

In addition, organizations can accomplish workplace inclusivity by communicating with different individuals, building employee resource groups, placing importance on inclusion, and suitably connecting with the workforce.

The Bottom Line 

As the world is continually evolving, workplace diversity is something that every organization must strictly follow. Companies must review the state and federal laws to ensure that they comply with all the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) legislation. Also, after reviewing the legislation, organizations must execute an assertive policy that defines the norms of the business and the measures that will follow if there is an infringement of business policy. 

All employees and administrators must get adequate training on the diversity policy and be held accountable to ensure that every worker feels valued and safe. Also, by promoting a diverse workplace culture, organizations will facilitate an environment of professionalism and reverence for individual differences.

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