Dealing with workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination to create a respectful workplace

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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

ARTICLES

#15

ASKING A PERSON WHO IS CONSIDERED A "MINORITY" TO DO TASKS OTHERS ARE REQUIRED TO DO, YET THEY CRY FOUL

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If a person is in the “minority” it could mean there are fewer people like them in a workplace. A man could be in the “minority” if he is at a workplace full of women. So that could apply to anyone. However, in this case, we’re talking about people who fall into the categories that people often think of as “minorities,” which in Canadian workplaces include women, persons with darker skin, Aboriginal people and persons with disabilities.

 

So often supervisors are worried that if they try to correct or discipline a minority person over something they have done wrong, this employee will cry “foul.” In other words, the employee will think he or she is being singled out for discriminatory behaviour due to them being “different” or in a minority to others who form the majority.

 

Dealing with a situation like this requires an open mind and understanding. The open mind is needed to really consider if there is some truth to what is being said. So first, make sure there isn’t some different treatment and if there is, then correct it. We don’t always see it and it doesn’t mean you or others are bad people because of unintentionally treating someone different…as long as you’re willing to own up to it and change.

 

If there is no substance to the claim of different treatment, then address it directly and try to understand that a person who has received discriminatory treatment in the past may just be suspicious when something similar happens to them in your workplace.

 

TRY THIS:

 

After you have established this employee doesn’t receive different treatment from others, let the person know you appreciate it might seem like different treatment, but in fact it’s the same treatment everyone gets.

 

HOW ABOUT:

 

“I know it seems like I’m singling you out, but in fact I’m not. The reason you aren’t aware of the things I say to others is that I respect their confidentiality, just like I do yours. Your colleagues won’t know about this conversation and so if I have to speak to them in the future, they may feel just like you.”

 

“If I don’t have this conversation with you, to try to help you out, or to improve your work performance, then I’m not doing you any favours. I think you’re very capable and therefore I want to make sure you’re given the opportunity to change. If I let you carry on without any improvement, it will put your job at risk. I don’t want that.”

 

“You may have received discriminatory treatment in the past, or in other jobs. I’m not perfect and am willing to accept responsibility when I treat someone different – that is, for the wrong reasons. But in this case I am giving you the respect you deserve by treating you the same way I would any employee. This issue needs to be addressed so how would you like me to deal it?”

 

 

Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP

 

If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.

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© STEPHEN HAMMOND - HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.    
 
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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

© STEPHEN HAMMOND HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.
 
  
 
CONTACT