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Webinar: Recognizing and Responding to Discrimination in the Workplace


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Today’s workplace thrives on innovation, empowerment, and an open dialogue. But what happens when social discord and discussion seeps into the workplace, bringing with it polarizing views and sometimes intolerance and discrimination?

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Webinar: Recognizing and Responding to Discrimination in the Workplace

  1. 1. Arusha Gordon Dariely Rodriguez Promoting Tolerance and Preventing Discrimination
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER This presentation does not provide legal advice but rather provides general legal information. No attorney-client relationship is created by using any information in the presentation. You should consult and retain an attorney if you need legal advice specific to your situation.
  3. 3. WHO WE ARE Our Mission To secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.
  4. 4. WHO WE ARE Economic Justice Project The Economic Justice Project (EJP) seeks to address persisting inequality and high poverty rates faced by African American and other minority communities. EJP also brings litigation seeking to lift the employment barriers faced by individuals with criminal histories who are seeking to reintegrate into their communities.
  5. 5. WHO WE ARE The Stop Hate Project seeks to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate by connecting these groups with established legal and social services resources. Stop Hate Project
  6. 6. HATE CRIMES ON THE RISE 5 % increase from 2015 10% increase from 2014 Most hate crimes go unreported; reporting is voluntary. Surge in hate crimes nationally in recent years; increase in hateful language and attitudes towards marginalized groups, including immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ and religious groups. Workplaces and businesses reflect the national climate.
  7. 7. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Bank Bar Office Building Convenience Store Department Store Drug Store/Hostpital Grocery Store Hotel/Motel Liquor Store Parking Lot Restaurant Gas Station Shopping Mall Speciatly Store HATE CRIME LOCATIONS Number of Incidents Within the United States
  8. 8. LEGAL OVERVIEW Federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination, including harassment, based on certain characteristics or protected categories such as race, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, and citizenship status. At the federal level, employment anti- discrimination laws apply to employers engaged in interstate commerce with more than 15 employees. *The threshold may be lower at the state or local levels.
  9. 9. LEGAL OVERVIEW Federal, state, and local laws also prohibit discrimination, in in public accommodations on the basis of protected categories such as race, sexual orientation, religion, and national origin.
  10. 10. WHAT OBLIGATIONS DO YOU HAVE? • Businesses have an obligation to provide a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment • Businesses also have an obligation to treat customers equally and fairly. • Eliminating harassment begins with treating people with respect. • Discrimination and harassment have negative impacts in the workplace and on employee morale. • Discrimination or harassment against customers is bad for business!
  11. 11. WHO CAN PERPETRATE HARASSMENT? 1. Perpetrator w/no relationship Perpetrator with no legitimate relationship to the business (protestor/ political demonstration). 2. Customer/Client External individual who has relationship to the business (harassing employees, refusing to work with specific individuals) 3. Worker-on-Worker Internal problems between co-workers; usually manifests as verbal or physical conduct on the basis of someone’s protected category.
  12. 12. WORKPLACE HARASSMENT RECOGNIZE 1. Harassment can be overt or subtle. It can manifest itself physically, verbally, and non-verbally (written, visual). 2. It’s motivated by bias, prejudice, or personal hatred toward the actual or perceived characteristics of a victim, including race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
  13. 13. RESPOND to Complaints WORKPLACE HARASSMENT 2. Investigate 3. Take appropriate action, if necessary 1. Take all complaints seriously
  14. 14. WORKPLACE HARASSMENT PREVENT 2. Be mindful of your own biases 1. Cultural sensitivity; be aware of how cultural dynamics (including ‘identity’ based on religion, sex, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability etc.) inform one’s reactions
  15. 15. HYPOTHETICALS A client is refusing to work with an employee based on a protected category. External Individual w/Business Relationship
  16. 16. Worker-on-Worker Some of your employees are having a heated argument about politics. How do you respond? HYPOTHETICALS
  17. 17. HARASSMENT BY CUSTOMER This recent incident occurred when a customer threatened to call ICE because restaurant staff were speaking Spanish. The customer, an attorney who owns his own firm, has been kicked out of his office space and is facing potential disbarment. If this were your business, how would you handle this customer?
  18. 18. SUGGESTED ACTION ITEMS ØLetter to the editor/op-ed using your voice as a business leader (“Hate is bad for business”) ØHost a know your rights workshop, bystander intervention training, or community round table on hate ØMake and display inclusive and welcoming messages (e.g. consumer bill of rights, “all are welcome here”) ØFundraise for repairs/security equipment for organizations or residents that have been vandalized ØDonate proceeds on a certain day to anti-hate or community groups. ØAttend community meetings to stay informed about hateful activity ØSupport businesses that have been targets of hate
  19. 19. RESOURCES • LCCRUL Stop Hate Project ( • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) • American Bar Association (ABA) • Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) 19
  20. 20. THANK YOU! .
  21. 21. QUESTIONS?