The Importance of Creating an Equal Opportunity Work Environment

17 Jul

Although businesses were required to be equal opportunity employers 50 years ago, it's still important for human resources to follow guidelines.

Approximately 50 years ago, Title VII was created as a federal law that prohibits workplace harassment and discrimination with all private employers, state, local and federal governments, and education institutions, Business Legal Resources reported.

The law prevents employers to discriminate against employees because of race, color, national origin, religion and sex. In the half-century since the law was created, many businesses are still under pressure to make sure they follow all the correct hiring, firing and recruitment processes that abide the federal regulation.

Since there are many more opportunities for employees to take legal action against a company for not being an equal opportunity employer, it's critical for human resources departments to ensure their firms are providing fair opportunities for everyone.

According to XpertHR, many businesses understand the importance of being an equal opportunity employer, but failing to stop discrimination in the workplace can lead to higher employee turnover and absenteeism rates, lower morale, reduced productivity and higher insurance premiums and defense costs.

Affirmative Action in Recruiting
Human resources departments have to understand that affirmative action in company recruiting policies are more important than ever. According to the Houston Chronicle, the whole purpose of affirmative action is to create a more diverse group and in the recruiting process, it will help the pool of qualified candidates grow larger.

Businesses can reach out to more qualified candidates by reaching out to specific programs designed to attract women and minority workers, the source reported. There are many routes employers can take to ensure their companies are being completely fair and balanced in their recruitment process.

Shift in Employment Practices
In the last 50 years, there have been major shifts in employment practices with affirmative action. According to Northern Illinois University College of Law's "Regulating Appearance in the Workplace," in the last several years, the amount of appearance-based discrimination claims has had a significant increase.

These appearance lawsuits have come from claims about dress codes, makeup, body weight, body art and grooming, the source reported. Since the federal law first started, now more employers are being cautious about age discrimination or disability claims.

The risk of litigation is possible for many companies and that's why human resources departments have to stay up to date with the latest regulations and federal laws to not only protect the business, but their employees as well.

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