Equality and diversity in the workplace are people issues. Laws govern equality in the workplace, and organizations that violate those laws can be held accountable. Diversity tends to go beyond equal opportunity laws. Organizations can follow equality laws without establishing a diverse workplace. However, following diversity in the workplace is advantageous for companies and employees. To establish a successful organization, managers should understand equality and diversity practices and the benefits of following them in their companies.
In an effort to promote equality, federal laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. Companies that promote equality in the workplace do not base hiring and firing decisions, compensation, promotions and other benefits on employees’ race, sexuality, gender, age, religion or national origin. Equality in the workplace also promotes equal pay and prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages and benefits. Workers who are disabled but otherwise able to do their jobs are also protected under equality laws. Companies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers.
Advantages of Equality
The advantages of promoting equality in the workplace include creating an environment with high employee morale, developing a good reputation and the ability to recruit top talent. Another advantage of equality in the workplace is that the effectiveness of employees is measured by their contributions, which may motivate them to openly contribute to the company in a positive way. In contrast, if a company uses discriminatory practices to decide who is promoted, employees who do not benefit from those practices likely become discouraged and unmotivated.
Workplace diversity relates to acknowledging differences among employees and creating an inclusive environment that values those differences. A workplace that practices diversity employs individuals from various races, ethnicities, religions and genders. Diversity in the workplace provides immediate benefits to organizations, but managers should expect some resistance from employees not willing to accept changes. Many companies implement diversity programs, which educate employees on the definition of diversity and how it helps every member of the company.
Benefits of Diversity
Companies derive direct benefits from implementing diversity programs within their organizations. Some of the advantages of following diversity in the workplace include capturing a greater consumer market, employing a qualified workforce, reducing employee turnover and developing a more innovative workplace. A diverse workforce also leads to an increase in creativity because individuals from different backgrounds approach problem solving in a different way. Companies also benefit from diversity in language skills, which allows them to provide products and services internationally.
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