There is a great deal of talk these days about cultural differences and not all are positive, which has led many organizations to step up their efforts to promote their companies as not only diverse but also inclusive. This means, going above and beyond the mandates established by the federal government’s Department of Labor and the Equal Opportunity Act (1964), which requires prospective employers must include verbiage in all job postings and they should have informative flyers posted in common areas indicating they are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
To ensure that these laws are upheld, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was installed as a branch of the federal government in 1965.
The Equal Opportunity Act protects the rights of all people regardless of race, religion, gender, gender orientation, disability, and age. According to the EOA, an employer cannot discriminate, or make adverse employment or retention decisions based upon any of the above-named categories. However, an employer can state that anyone of color, (other) religion, gender or gender orientation is unqualified for a job, and select a candidate who they consider to best represent their organization, in other words White, straight, Christian. This is the reason for the implementation of the Affirmative Action Act (1965) to as President Johnson said, to make equality more than just an idea, to make it a fact.
Any law can be misinterpreted or abused, and can have naysayers; this has been the case with the Affirmative Action Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does investigate cases of discrimination and will take employers to court if they are found in violation. Larger employers have personnel in human resources whose primary function is to ensure that employees are treated fairly. However, these human resource staff works for the same employer and therefore, employees may not feel comfortable going to them with their concerns.
Diversity and Inclusion (suggestion: and)
Most larger organizations have diversity and inclusion coordinators, their job goes beyond that of the EEOC officer. Some organizations will even hire outside consultants to help them implement diversity and inclusion goals to conduct training. Unfortunately, this step is often taken only after there has been an incident.
A diverse working environment is where inclusion plays a part in everyday language. There is less turn-over of staff in the operations, employees take fewer sick days, and productivity is at high levels.
When employers are clear about their interest and the value placed on fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, employees feel accepted and supported. They work harder for they have confidence that their efforts are appreciated and properly recognized.
When applying for any position, if there is not a clear and positive statement regarding diversity and inclusion, this is an organization that should be bypassed. Equal opportunity can only exist in an environment where all are seen as equals, and also as individuals who offer differing views, talents, and work styles.
With so much upheaval in the world and with refugees seeking safety and employment in parts of Europe and the United States, it is of vital importance that employers provide a positive work environment that operates on not merely the principles of tolerance, but on the value of inclusivity.
An inclusive employer is one who capitalizes on the differences, and recognizes the value of staffing the organization with employees who represent the community or broader society.)
The best employers recognize that the lack of inclusive practices can lend itself to hostile working environments. When this occurs, employees with ethnic races and women too may experience stress, which can lead to more serious health and psychological related issues. Human Resources may not always be the safest place to turn to when feeling stressed. Many have found that seeking confidential counseling with an online therapist helps to alleviate stress and provides helpful resources.