The death of George Floyd in May of this year sparked widescale outrage and protests across the nation and later the globe as Black Lives Matter posters were waved from New York to Tokyo.
Companies from all over changed their social media profile images to black backgrounds in solidarity of the movement, but such actions have not sufficed for many people.
Instead, consumers and employees alike have expressed their desire to see companies and local institutions commit to tangible change within their policies and workplace environments.
As the nation continues to become more diverse, employers are being made aware of these new responsibilities for providing their employees with safer and fairer workplaces.
As a local government employer, it’s important that you understand the legislation involved in these matters so that your organization can maintain compliance.
Lacking a strong understanding of what it means to have diversity in the workplace can create blindspots that may unintentionally lead to unfair employment/workplace practices, which could have serious legal repercussions.
The following content is meant to educate you about local changes being implemented within organizations and steps that you can take to bring your own work environment up to speed on modern diversity training best-practices.
Compliance with State and Federal Law
There is legislation that state and federal governments have created in an effort to prevent unlawful or unfair employment practices within organizations, private or public.
For instance, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any employer from participating in the discrimination of employees based on sex, color, race, religion, or national origin.
This applies to employers that have 15 or more employees and isn’t limited to private organizations but also impacts federal, state, and local governments. The full details of Title VII can be read at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.
Some other relevant laws put in place include:
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1969
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
- The ADA Amendments Act of 2008
It’s vital that you also check your state laws periodically to stay up to date on any recently passed legislation related to diversity in the workplace or other compliance issues.
Failure to do so may lead to lawsuits, fines, or other penalties for unfair or unlawful employment practices, regardless of whether they are intentional or not.
Local Organizations and Government Bodies Implementing Change
There are already sweeping changes in diversity training occurring within various organizations across the United States. We mention some of them below.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The University is launching new equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) training for all incoming students. Although it is only now being unveiled, the Executive Director of EDI, Jodi Thessing-Ritter, says that the program has, in fact, been in development for several years.
The EDI training involves a 50 minutes online course that contains videos, quizzes, and modules of info covering a variety of topics including race, religion, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression.
The City of Dayton
The city of Dayton has recently hired a consultant to provide diversity training to help build cultural awareness among city employees. The consultant, Daniel Juday, will also strive to help employees develop more trusting and meaningful relationships.
A new Navy task force has been established in an effort to address racial and gender biases.
Although the Navy has long been committed to inclusion and diversity for many years, Vice Adm. John Nowell stated, “…I think it’s safe to say that as we look at current events it’s really put a light on the fact that we need to do more. We need to do it more quickly.”
The task force recommends reforms in recruiting, health care, promotions, military justice, and five other key areas in the service.
The City of Manchester
Thanks to a $20,000 grant, the City of Manchester will have all city employees receive diversity training later this year.
How to Maintain an Inclusive Environment in Your Organization
Any diversity training implemented within your organization should be thoroughly considered. Take these points into consideration as you move forward in making your own organization more inclusive.
Implement Solid Equal Employment Policies
As an employer, implement a strong equal employment opportunity policy. Make sure that it is upheld across all levels of your local government organization.
The policy itself should include transparent assurances that if employees file complaints, then you’ll protect said employees from retaliation. All prohibited conduct should be clearly laid out in the policy as well.
Once the policy is in place, be sure to train relevant parties like supervisors, managers, and employees about the policy and its contents. It’s up to you to set the standards and expectations people have about this subject.
Train Managers and Employees
All Human Resource managers and employees should be trained on equal employment opportunity laws.
During any diversity training, remind employees of relevant company policies that are in place and that all employees will be held accountable for their actions. Immediate and appropriate corrective action should be followed through in the event of violations of company policy.
Promote a Culture of Inclusivity Within Your Organization
As a local government employer, it’s your responsibility to actively practice inclusivity in your workplace.
Remember to take the initiative in helping people feel valued and welcome at your organization by interacting with different people, appropriately connecting with employees, and creating useful employee resource groups.
Diversity Training Amid Lockdown
As the nation continues to change and become more diverse, it’s important that we make sure that our workplaces feel welcome to said diversity.
Doing so will help your local government agency foster an environment of professionalism that cultivates an appreciation and respect for personal differences across your workforce.
However, the nation still being in lockdown poses a challenge to many organizations who would want to conduct group diversity training at this moment.
It’s for this reason that online training solutions are more necessary and convenient than ever.
We offer on-demand training dedicated to compliance and risk management, covering the subject of diversity in several courses, including Bridging the Diversity Gap, Understanding Workplace Diversity, Your Role in Workplace Diversity, and more.
We hope that our accessible online training will help you and your organization create safer and fairer workplaces for all individuals.
Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!