Discrimination at the workplace is not something new. It has been going on for years and continues to be seen in certain work environments. Unfortunately, not only does it affect employees’ productivity, but it also exposes the company to the possibility of a lawsuit. Every employee needs to be treated fairly regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, or any other demographic.
Minority Workers Have It Worse
Diversity in the workplace contributes to safety performance. Numerous studies have shown that minority groups have worse safety outcomes. Culture, language, job security, and religious differences all play a role in this. A worker from a minority community is more likely to be employed in a high-risk job than a white person. In addition, minorities are likely to get injured or be killed in a job. Although some of these injuries are reported, a large percentage of minority workers do not report for fear of losing their jobs. Statistically, medical and compensation costs related to workplace accidents like a slip or a fall amount to about $70 billion annually. These are the reported cases. Considering that most minorities do not report unsafe working conditions, the figure would go up significantly if they did.
Even in a workplace with a diverse workforce, minority discrimination can still go on. While the term glass ceiling often refers to a barrier placed before women preventing them from advancing to top positions, it can also apply to minorities. You will find that ethnic minorities do not receive the same salary as their counterparts. Female minorities receive the lowest salaries when compared to their colleagues.
Diversifying the Workplace
According to statistics from the Department of Labor, the workforce is diversifying. In 2019, a bigger percentage of new hires were people of color. This is particularly seen in the healthcare industry, which has a long history of hiring and serving diverse populations. For instance, dentistry ranks among the top ten trusted and ethical professions in the US. This is something that people would like to see more in other professions.
The Health and Safety Field Lacks Diversity
Most individuals who work in construction, food processing, manufacturing, and other health and safety fields are minorities, yet most managers are white and male. Studies suggest that only one in every five health and safety managers are women. Despite the growing numbers of minorities working in these fields, the ratio has not changed over the last decade.
How Can Companies Address the Issue of An Unsafe Workplace?
Leaders need to take their time to understand how matters like racial discrimination, religious differences, language barriers, and cultural differences affect workers. They can also help develop a plan to address any disparities by developing culture-responsive training programs.
In addition, companies need to take seriously any issues regarding any form of discrimination and ensure that the same consequences are applied to everyone across the board. There have been cases where minority groups suffer severe consequences for their mistakes at the workplace compared to their counterparts. Take an incident of operating company equipment while drunk. Minority groups tend to face harsher punishments. Still, everyone must understand their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to make informed choices that do not compromise the safety of other employees. BAC is described as the amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream. A BAC of 0.10% means that your blood supply has one part of alcohol for every 1000 parts of blood, and you should not be handling any equipment.
Reporting Unsafe Work Condition
Employees can file a confidential safety and health complaint and request OSHA to inspect their workplaces. If there is a serious hazard at your workplace and you feel that your employer is not following safety standards, report the issues for action to be taken.
Employees need to feel that they have been represented at all levels, from the ground to the boardroom. It is only by companies being fair when investing in recruiting, mentoring, and training all groups, that they will ensure a safe workplace for all.