The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is resulting in an increasing level of racial discrimination and bullying in the workplace.
Employers have been advised to take care not to discriminate against employees based on their national origin. Accordingly, employers should establish consistently applied and clearly communicated practices with regard to self-quarantining of employees and should take steps to deal with incidents of discrimination at work that arise.
Advice from SHRM is that employees should be encouraged to speak up and say that hostile behavior is not acceptable in the workplace. Employees that experience or witness discrimination should also be encouraged to record details of the incident, including date, time and location.
Here are some examples of how Vault Platform is helping employers protect their staff from racial discrimination related to COVID-19:
Take steps to publicize diversity and harassment policies and training for all staff on the issue. Vault Platform hosts links to policy and training materials directly within the app.
Encouraging a speak-up culture. It can be challenging for employees to speak up and report discrimination they experience or witness. Vault Platform is designed to provide a safe space for employees to report issues either anonymously, in-name, or through the power of strength in numbers if they don’t want to go it alone.
Managers should be reminded of their responsibility to identify and actively prevent discriminatory behavior. Statistically, employees are more likely to mention an incident to a manager or a colleague than they are to report the incident via a hotline or to HR. Vault Platform is designed to enable bystander accountability as well as give case managers and stakeholders real-time visibility of incident reports and progress.
Third-party harassment: Employees may experience or witness harassment or discrimination by a third-party such as a customer or visitor. Although the employer might not be liable for race discrimination it is their duty to protect the employee. Vault Platform is designed to allow employees to report incidents related to external parties, not just those within the organization.
Reasonable steps: Typically, employers will only avoid liability in the event of discrimination if they can show they have taken “all reasonable steps” to prevent employees from behaving in such a manner. The mere implementation of Vault Platform within a workplace goes a significant distance meeting this requirement by offering employees an effective and secure solution for reporting sensitive issues.
This is a testing time for leaders worldwide. This outbreak is a reminder of just how important creating a transparent and open culture is for preventing and resolving any kind of harassment or bullying. Leaders are encouraged to remind their workforce of the individual and collective responsibility for all to exercise vigilance and take a proactive approach to reporting racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in the workplace.
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Neta Meidav is co-founder and CEO of Vault Platform, the trusttech company disrupting workplace misconduct reporting and resolution. Neta worked as a senior adviser to the UK Government for over ten years and is a knowledgeable resource on solutions to the problem of harassment and bullying in the workplace.