It doesn’t matter whether or not you intended to harass or offend someone else. What matters is whether the recipient felt harassed or offended and you knew, or should have known, that your behavior was offensive.
In case of doubt, pay attention to the body language. It is sufficient for the recipient to make it clear through conduct or body language that the behavior is unwelcome.
The increasingly diversity of the workplace is creating awareness around how visible minority is treated in the workplace. In fact, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has published a document entitled Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination. The most common expression of racial discrimination is stereotyping. Examples include people of a certain group being characterized as typically unreliable, lazy or unintelligent.
As an employer or as an entrepreneur, establishing a discrimination-free workplace will help you with eliminating harassment, positioning you as an employer of choice. You will be in a better position to recruit and retain skilled workers from different cultures.
What you need to do:
- Use specific criteria and concrete examples in assessing work performance rather than vague factors that lend themselves as being subjective and questionable.
- Implement cultural competence development programs intended to create awareness of cultural differences, stereotyping, prejudice and racism.
- Be consistent with the application of policies and procedures with your workforce.
- Develop programs for people managers and employees that enable them to recognize inappropriate behavior.
- Define the disciplinary consequences for violations of human rights rules.
- Ensure that policies and procedures are readily available to those who may be subject to them.
- Develop accommodation policies for extenuate circumstances surrounding religion, for example.
- Develop “employer of choice” mentality. Be the employer people want to work for. Deliver the right message with the right medium for each employee — understand how employees like to be reached – web, mobile and beyond.
- De relevant when communicating with your employees.
- Stay in tune with your employees’ dynamics.
Hiring foreign workers is much more than a means to an end when it comes to addressing current labor shortages. It is an opportunity to build a stronger, more dynamic company that can thrive in today’s competitive business world. Invest the time and attention managing a diverse workforce requires, pay attention to your brand and embrace the many benefits!