Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.
WHEN A PERSON IS CALLED ON THEIR COMMENTS OR JOKES,
THEIR RESPONSE IS "IT'S ONLY A JOKE" OR “CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”
A WOMAN IN A MALE DOMINATED WORKPLACE GETS LESS THAN KIND
COMMENTS FROM THE GUYS AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT IT QUIETLY,
SHE SAYS IT DOESN'T BOTHER HER, OR SHE CAN TAKE IT
ASKING A PERSON WHO IS CONSIDERED A "MINORITY"
TO DO TASKS OTHERS ARE REQUIRED TO DO, YET THEY CRY FOUL
EMPLOYEES WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT MANAGEMENT AND MANAGERS WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT UNIONS, GENERALLY
WHEN SEVERAL EMPLOYEES MAKE DEROGATORY COMMENTS ABOUT
ANOTHER EMPLOYEE, WHO IS NOT PRESENT, AND OUTSIDE OF WORK
WHEN SOMEONE TELLS A JOKE, MOST PEOPLE LAUGH, BUT IT'S INAPPROPRIATE, ESPECIALLY FOR ONE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE, BUT NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING
WHEN EMPLOYEES DON'T WANT TO PICK UP THE SLACK BECAUSE A CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEE NEEDS TIME OFF FOR MASS AND WON'T WORK ON SUNDAYS
WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TAKES PART IN REPUGNANT, BUT NOT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUP, OUTSIDE OF WORK
YET NEVER SAYS OR DOES ANYTHING AT WORK
WHEN TWO EMPLOYEES WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS, BUT HAD A PHYSICAL FIGHT OUTSIDE WORK AND NOW ONE OF THEM WON'T WORK WITH THE OTHER
OVER SOME OPEN FORM OF COMMUNICATION (RADIO OR GROUP EMAIL) AN EMPLOYEE STATES ABOUT ONE OF THE GUYS, "IT MUST BE THAT TIME OF THE MONTH" BECAUSE THIS FELLOW WAS BEING TOO EMOTIONAL
WHEN A WOMAN CAN’T DO THE SAME PHYSICAL WORK
A MALE CO-WORKER CAN DO, BUT IT’S ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE JOB
WHEN A PERSON APPEARS ALMOST RUDE IN EMAILS, BUT IN PERSON THEY COME ACROSS DIFFERENTLY – CONSIDERATE
WHEN SOMEONE WON’T TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER – THEY HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL APPEALS AND PEOPLE DON’T SEE IT HIS WAY
WHEN SOMEONE IS AFRAID TO SAY ANYTHING TO SOMEONE WHO IS “DIFFERENT” FOR FEAR OF A COMPLAINT OR INSULTING THESE PEOPLE
PERSONS LOWER THEIR VOICES WHEN TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS (WHISPER) “BLACK”
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.
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.
“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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