COVID-19 Employer Support: Revisit Your Discrimination Policy Before Returning to Work
Despite the hesitation surrounding the reopening of businesses during COVID-19, companies are slowly returning to work, and now more than ever, employers should have plans to keep harassment and discrimination laws at the forefront. Adjusting back to the office will present new challenges — many of which will link directly to discrimination in race and age. While HR consultants have been involved throughout every phase of the pandemic, their involvement should increase during the process of making adjustments to workplace procedures. Employers should be prepared to protect their team members, and accommodate their needs. HR Affiliates is here to assist your business in making modifications to your policies to ensure a smooth transition to both the office and the new norm.
Tips to Ensure Protection of All
Are your previous policies and procedures all-encompassing? It is important to acknowledge that the short-term changes brought about by the pandemic will have long-term effects on everyone — but some groups will likely experience discrimination at higher rates. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has urged employers to be mindful of harassment, intimidation or discrimination in the workplace against Asian Americans or people of Asian descent during the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Implementing strict rules surrounding harassment and discrimination will help mitigate these situations. Below are some tips on how your company can protect every employee:
- Re-emphasize your policy. Before you reopen your doors, send out an email reinstating your harassment policy. Follow-up with a team meeting via ZOOM to address any questions and concerns.
- Encourage employees to report discrimination. Your employees should feel comfortable to immediately file a report, even if it’s not deemed as harassment.
- Adopt a zero-tolerance outlook. Demonstrate to your team that you will not tolerate employees to be discriminated against on any basis by hosting team meetings every quarter.
- Address harassment early. Encourage employees to report even if they don’t think it rises to the official definition of harassment — has to be severe or pervasive.
- Keep a record. Document every situation and hold performance reviews. Without these, you’re at risk of holding no solid evidence.
Safety upon returning to the workplace should be every employer’s top priority — and discrimination will arise from several factors stemming from COVID-19. While many employees will return to the office, many will not feel comfortable doing so due to discrimination of race, age, disability, and more. This time will be filled with pressure on employers, so the EEOC is enforcing changes to better accommodate businesses during this time. Both employers and employees should follow guidance from the CDC, in addition to state and local public health authorities on how to best protect workers upon returning to work.
Employee Safety is in Your Hands
Ready to make the necessary accommodations to keep your business on track? Our top priority is getting to the bottom of your business needs. COVID-19 has brought about many changes in the workplace, and these changes will continue to develop in the midst of so much uncertainty. One thing is certain though — the country is eager to get the economy up, so don’t risk your bottom line by focusing strictly on business. As an employer, it’s essential that you have an HR partner on your side to navigate you through the details of the changes.