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How to Speak Out Against Discrimination at Work

As you seek to achieve inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, the importance of bravery and courage cannot be overstated. Even in the current advanced world, there’s an evident lack of diversity and continued discrimination in many workplaces. It’s not easy to tackle such issues at work, and most employees opt to avoid speaking out unless they’re facing a distinct grievance or dispute.

But this should no longer be the case. Managers and employees must be ready to speak out against discrimination at work and encourage others to do the same.

How do you gain the confidence to use your voice to deconstruct a system of discrimination comfortably?

Tips for Speaking Up Against Discrimination at Work

Whether the marginalization results from racial diversity, misunderstandings, or LGBTQ matters, discrimination of colleagues slowly poisons the workplace and the company as a whole. The way you approach the issue defines your impact in the company, and as a human being.

Here are the different approaches of speaking up against any form of discrimination at the workstations:

Prepare Yourself

You must always expect another moment of discrimination within the workspace, so you need to be prepared for it. Rank yourself among those who will speak up against the issue, and promise yourself that you will not keep quiet about it. No matter what you do, ensure you gather sufficient courage to help you tackle the problem.

As a reinforcement to your courage, always have something to say before the actual incident takes place. It’s always a good idea to have some open-ended questions in mind as they can be the best response. For instance, you may ask questions like, “Why do you think that way?” or “What made you come up with that assumption?”

Identify The Ill

Oftentimes, it would be wise if you point out bad behavior candidly so that the person can be really aware of whatever they’re saying.

“Kennedy, are you saying all Africans are lazy?” or “Kennedy, you’re categorizing an entire continent in a derogatory way. Don’t you think that’s wrong?”

If you are mainly focused on communicating, then you don’t need to use loaded terms. You don’t simply call them racists, as this would create a wall instantly.

Set The Tone

Whatever you allow will continue taking place in the organization. As a leader, you should always be ready to say ‘that’s not welcome in this company.’ You can easily communicate this via a clear zero-tolerance policy to counter the vice.

Teamwork is only possible if there’re explicit directives from the top, so you must set the tone. Your staff must know your stand on such sensitive matters as discrimination so they can quickly implement the same.

Discuss Your Personal Experience

If you are comfortable with it, it would be best if you call out any discrimination experiences at the workplace. You may highlight a sexist remark from a member of your department or report how you were discriminated against on public transport. However, it would help if you were prepared for the dangers of calling out someone’s behavior.

The person may not appreciate it if you challenge their viewpoints, and may end up reacting aggressively. So you must be smart to distinguish risky and safe situation – your safety is the number one objective.

Among the best actions to take before contacting your employment lawyer would be to notify an authority figure. When they are continuously alerted of the happenings, they’ll be motivated to seek solutions.

Set Your Limits

It may not be as easy to control another person or a colleague. But you can use a simple, clear statement to show your limits. For instance:

“Stop telling those discriminatory jokes near me. If you do it again, I’ll leave!” or “My workstation has no space for narrow-minded remarks or any form of discrimination. I may have no control over your statements when you’re outside this premises, but while you’re here, you must respect my wishes.”

The point here is not to counter or express emotion. You’ll only be communicating that you can’t stand that language, and they should not use it in your presence. Most of the time, you cannot change their attitude or views on the matter at hand. But you will have limited its contagion; hence few will hear or experience the problem.

Find Your Ally or Be the Ally

Countering everyday bigotry at work is not easy, and you may end up frustrated. It would be best if you look for other like-minded persons within the organization and seek their support in your endeavors.

Also, remember to return the favor. If yours isn’t the first voice against discrimination in the workplace, it should be the next. To find supportive allies for your course, you must be ready to lead by example, inspiring others to overcome the fear of speaking up.

Savvy entrepreneurs and industry leaders nowadays emphasize on company culture, personal satisfaction, and inclusivity. But most still struggle with discrimination issues that could negatively impact company operations.

To deal with the concerns and uphold a healthy work atmosphere, silence is not golden. You must understand the origin of the problem, its existence, and the appropriate solutions to address it. With the above tips, you can efficiently speak out against discrimination at work and encourage others to speak out against the vice.


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