Productivity and good attendance is only two of the many benefits we can gain by adhering to the anti-discrimination laws. Although the concept appears so basic, we can build a successful business simply by treating people the same regardless of their differences. This begins with judging our staff on their actual performance instead the color of their skin, how old they are, where they were born, what they believe, or if they are disabled.

What is age discrimination and is there anything we can do to avoid it from taking place in our work environment? Although it may seem young the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects anyone that is forty years old or older. The ADEA was enacted to insure those forty or over were being treated equally as it relates to any of the following conditions of employment; pay, hiring, training, firing, assignments, promotional opportunities, or fringe benefits.

When we take a look at racial discrimination it can become a little more complicated when we try to define it specifically. As an example, it is possible to discriminate against someone that is of one race but married to someone of a different race. It is also possible to discriminate against someone for having an affiliation to an organization that generally caters to a certain race. Finally it is possible to have discriminatory practices by establishing unnecessary work rules that would have a negative impact on certain races of people.

Someone’s skin color is also protected by anti-discrimination laws. The interesting thing is that discrimination can take place even if the person is of the same skin color as the other person. Color discrimination is typically referring to how light or dark a person’s skin color is; however, it is not defined clearly.

Religion falls under the same anti-discrimination laws. If a person is believed to be of a certain religion, even if they are not, another can discriminate against them if that person thinks that they are. It might be as simple as the person watched them going into a church and because of that they started treating them negatively. Yes it is as simple as that sometimes.

An individual that is unfairly treated because of the country or area they are from, their ethnicity, or if they have an accent, is referred to as national origin discrimination. Identical to the other forms of discrimination, whether they are actually from that country or area isn’t important. It matters only that someone believes they are from that country.

In order to best protect you and your business from any of the many anti-discrimination laws I would highly recommend a continual training program beginning at the time of hire. The training program should consist of an orientation for all new employees, annually for existing employees, and a complete personnel handbook. All training should have a written lesson outline and possibly a test to prove they understood the information. A personnel handbook does not have to be some elaborate document. In fact it should contain your policy on discrimination and what will happen if they violate the policy. Above all it is very important to document any training given along with insuring they sign for your personnel handbook.

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