Anti-discrimination laws were put in place so that everyone can be treated equally. They also apply to employment, consumer transactions and politics. Additionally, anti-discrimination laws are based on:
- – sex
- – age
- – race
- – ethnicity
- – nationality
- – disability
- – mental state
- – sexual orientation
- – gender
- – gender identity
- – sexual characteristics
- – religion
- – political opinions
Business owners need to understand these laws in order to promote equality and follow the government’s code of conduct. Ignoring anti-discrimination laws can weaken employee morale and also result in costly legal issues. The following will explain how these laws came to be and why they are so important:
Why Are Anti-Discrimination Laws So Important?
Federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and applicants. They also forbid employees from discriminating and harassing each other at the workplace. Whether or not companies follow anti-discrimination laws will determine the success of the company.
Companies can increase productivity if they follow laws for equality. When an employer provides equal opportunity, the best candidates get the job. The best employees are also promoted. Harassment doesn’t hinder employees’ work either. Finally, a diverse workforce can reflect the diversity of potential markets.
Ignoring laws for equality can lead to negative publicity and costly fees. Companies, like Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), have had a hard time shaking off their notoriety after making headlines. A&F paid a $50 million lawsuit after being sued for racial discrimination in 2003. Furthermore, the government forces companies to pay for anti-discrimination courses if there is a grievance. So on top of whatever fees a company may have, they’ll have to pay for a class too. That means additional money taken away from their absence in the workplace.
Origin of Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Workplace
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the first anti-discrimination laws to have an affect on the workplace. This law prohibits segregation in public, including places of employment. The Civil Rights Act also bans discrimination against:
- – race
- – color
- – religion
- – sex
- – place of birth.
After this act was created, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was formed. The EEOC has the power to sue employers if workers make discrimination claims. The EEOC has also made numerous laws for equality–including the most recent Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).
Business owners need to learn about labor laws in order to promote equality and avoid conflict. Bad publicity can plague a company charged with discrimination for years. Consumers may not want to support them. Applicants may not want to work for the company as well. Most importantly, employers can also miss out on ideal employees if they discriminate against applicants.