How to Be Fair in the Workplace

by Alejandro Russell

One of the most difficult duties of an employer is to be fair to people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. This is because what might appear fair to one employee can seem discriminatory to another. Fairness in the workplace is fundamental in creating a healthy working environment where business can flourish. Therefore, it is crucial that you be familiar with the relevant legislation and have the skills that enable you to practice fairness with all your employees.

Understand Labor Laws

Several laws require employers to treat all employees fairly and equally, regardless of their gender, age, race or any other covered characteristics. According to the Department of Labor, it is against the law to discriminate based on disability, gender, sexual orientation, race or age. Understanding what the laws require enables you to have a yardstick on which to base your treatment of employees.

Accept Diversity

You should be open to hiring people of diverse backgrounds and accept their unique qualities. Each employee brings something unique to the workplace. You can harness the contributions of each person if your employees are not afraid of showing their uniqueness. Make employees aware of your policy of non-discrimination. This will give them the impetus to be their true selves.

Treat Employees Respectfully

Although the workplace is full of boss-subordinate relationships, you should treat everyone with respect. Likewise, you should encourage your employees to treat each other with mutual respect. This must be the practice regardless of the positions that employees hold, their academic qualifications or the amount of salary earned. When employees do make mistakes at work, you should not reprimand them in a manner that robs them of dignity. Criticize in private, praise in public.

Maintain Professionalism

You should hire people based on their qualifications for a particular job, regardless of whether you are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA. Do not hire a person because she is your friend or relative. If you do, you will be tempted to give them preferential treatment. You could feel obligated to give them higher salaries or bonuses while you brush aside similar requests from other employees. If you hire people on merit, you will have sufficient grounds to reward them if their performances exceed expectations.