Organizations are governed by policies, which are guidelines and rules that all the company stakeholders must follow to achieve the overall company goals. These policies reflect the vision and values of the organization and play a crucial role in establishing your organizational culture.
Organizational policies, such as those of a company like Development Workshop, can help employees know their role and focus towards reaching the strategic objectives. They also give guidance and direction to employees regarding different topics like best practices, problem resolution, and the required standards in the organization to ensure that they’re compliant and act accordingly to avoid finding themselves in the wrong.
With policies, it’s easy for employees with issues to resolve them correctly and move on with organizational operations. Company policies also clearly highlight appropriate and inappropriate behavior, which helps maintain law and order within the company.
What Is An Equal Employment Opportunity Policy?
One specific policy that companies apply is the equal employment opportunity policy (EEOP). This shows a firm’s commitment to offering equal opportunities to individuals in a company. Moreover, these policies aim to guarantee that all team members are treated fairly regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, skin color, marital status, religious belief, or gender. Companies are required and encouraged to have equal employment opportunities for their employees to prevent discrimination and create a safe and equal environment within the organization.
Having such a policy can benefit the company because it can attract clients. This is because the company will be perceived as worthy of getting contracts, increasing its loyalty and trust. Moreover, apart from knowing your values, they will also have an idea of your expectations as they work with you.
An employer’s equal opportunity policy protects you from employment claims since you treat your workers right. If you’re wondering how to create an equal employment opportunity policy, here’s a guide:
1. Start By Describing The Purpose Of The Policy
The first step is to define the motive or reason why you’re creating the document. Mostly, the policy aims to achieve fairness and equity. After that, you can include the following objectives:
- No team member should suffer from any form of discrimination or unfair treatment from the managers or fellow employees.
- The administration should incorporate strategies to help the organization have peace and harmony.
- The administration should ensure that all employees have equal opportunities in the company and are considered in decision-making.
- The employees should encourage and foster support from each other in every situation.
- The company should apply labor laws equally.
- The company should provide team members benefits, transfers, compensation, and leave days.
Once you’ve laid out the purpose and objectives, you can also include the individuals to whom the policy applies, such as all the employees and the human resources (HR) department.
2. Specify Who Is Responsible And Their Roles
When creating an employment opportunity policy, you need to make it clear who’s responsible for encouraging and promoting fairness and equity in the workplace. In this regard, you need to have an anti-discrimination committee with people in charge of this segment. After choosing them, you’d want to create a list with the following:
- Chairperson of the anti-discriminatory board in charge of making these policies
- A presiding officer (internal officer)
- Supporting officer (internal officer)
- A lawyer
- HR head
Some of their roles include the following:
- Making Decisions Regarding Employment: The role of these individuals is to make sure that candidates are hired based on their qualifications, experience, knowledge, and skills and not out of personal or selfish motives. This equal treatment also applies to other aspects such as training, promoting, and terminating team members.
- Compliance: The other role of these individuals is to ensure that all employees adhere to these policies. These people’s mandate is to explain the employment decisions they made to avoid being accused of discrimination. And, if complaints arise in the future, you need to have a document to prove that you did what was right.
- Offering Accommodations: Employees can request special treatment maybe because of religious or medical reasons. For instance, if a team member’s religion doesn’t allow them to take a specific type of food, you can request the chef to prepare something different so they don’t stay hungry. Also, if a particular medical condition requires the team member to act a certain way, you’re not supposed to be a hindrance.
For example, if a worker has diabetes and requires lower sugar intake, it’s best to communicate this with your chefs and kitchen staff so that they consider it as they prepare food and beverages. Doing so means you’re offering reasonable accommodations to the team members so they can work comfortably. You can support your workers as long as they have evidence of whatever they’re proclaiming, and the company can afford to cater to the issues.
- Documenting All Compliance Regulations: As an anti-discriminatory committee member in charge of the equal employment opportunity policy for your organization, you need to have a document or a team member handbook. This should contain a record of all the agreed-upon procedures in the organization. In addition, this book should be easily accessible to all team members for their reference. It will be easier to stay accountable after jotting down these policies than if you have them in mind.
- Dealing With Any Form Of Harassment: According to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 78.2% of women filed sexual charges, and 62.2% of women filed all harassment charges. Because of this, employees and managers must know they have no right to harass workers, regardless of whether they’re wrong or right.
Workers need to learn and respect boundaries. Digging into other team members’ business, like their sexuality, is wrong. Furthermore, non-consensual physical interaction with fellow team members can be termed sexual harassment. In this regard, in case you experience any of these things or any other form of discrimination, it’s best to speak up and get help from the board in charge of equality in the organization.
Ideally, the board in charge of these policies should know their mandate and responsibilities and exercise them with due diligence. An equal employment opportunity policy should include all stated responsibilities to ensure clarity in the future.
3. Explain Bullying And Discrimination And Their Sanctions
When creating an equal employment opportunity policy, you’d want to clearly define what your organization views as bullying or discrimination so that all your employees are fully aware. You can also discuss measures that you’re taking place to reduce the occurrence of these issues.
With this explanation, you can state that discrimination is when a team member is treated unfavorably because of a particular attribute. You can even give examples of discrimination which include the following:
- Employees who joke about another worker’s background, disability, origin, physical attribute, sex, and the like.
- Employees who show any form of disruptive behavior, such as threatening or fighting with a co-worker.
- Employees who talk about stereotypes in the organization. For example, claiming that women shouldn’t be single mothers or breadwinners, but instead, they should get married and wait for their husbands to provide for them and their families.
- Employees who hang out or talk to people of a particular race, origin, or location only instead of interacting equally with everyone.
- Employees who use political stands and religious beliefs to judge another worker’s lifestyle and decisions.
After explaining a few examples of discrimination, you can create a list of the discrimination parameters your employees should avoid discussing. This may include the following:
- Political stand
- Educational background
- Ethnicity or nationality
- Sexual orientation
- Personal beliefs
- Medical condition
- Family responsibilities
- Criminal record
It’s essential to enlighten your employees to understand that most people have a lot going on, and being kind and hospitable is the only way to help them. That way, you can help them avoid being judgmental and be willing to walk hand in hand with each other in the workplace regardless of the attributes of the other employees.
4. Include The Process For Filing Complaints
You need to inform the employees of the steps to follow when filing complaints and the measures your company will take to deal with the issue. First, before going to the procedure, it’s important to tell your team members that they should make their complaints in writing so that it’s easier for your issue to be addressed. In addition, the written piece can serve as evidence in the future in case a similar occurrence happens.
When filing the complaint, you have to investigate the matter. So the first step after a team member has submitted their complaint is investigating the issue. They must give the perpetrator’s name if they’ve filed a complaint of someone touching them inappropriately without their consent. They will be interviewed at different intervals, plus all other team members who may be aware of the problem.
The aim of interviewing other workers is to ascertain if it’s the character of the respondent to behave in such an uncouth way. The committee will also be able to know whether other people have been discriminated against and stay silent. Once the committee has established that discrimination occurred, they can proceed to the next step.
Afterwards, you have to negotiate. Once the worker’s complaints have been verified, the committee will try mediation to reconcile the two parties. In this case, they will call the complainant and respondent and ask them separately if they’re comfortable sorting the matter through mediation.
If both agree, then they can be called and summoned. The respondent often denies the allegations, but since they’ve been found guilty, they have to own the mistake. They’re supposed to apologize to the complainants and assure the company that they’ll change their behavior.
The anti-discriminatory committee will give the respondent a penalty or warning and handle the issue in a way that protection and safety of the other stakeholders of the organization regardless of whether it’s a meditation or not.
5. Establish The Values That The Anti-Discriminatory Committee Should Uphold
As leaders, the committee members in charge of upholding fairness and equity should lead by example. Therefore, it’s best to highlight this when creating your organization’s equal employment opportunity policy. This way, they won’t forget it.
In this regard, you can lay out some values these individuals need to uphold when dealing with complaints. This may include the following:
- Fairness: The committee must investigate all complaints using the same procedure without favoring any party, upholding equity and justice. This means regardless of the discriminator’s position, whether they’re junior or senior, they need to be held accountable for their actions the same way and make things right.
- Timeliness: The committee members need to be intentional about dealing with team member complaints immediately after they raise them. This will help them deal with their distress almost immediately and restore their peace of mind, so they can return to work immediately. You can set the first investigation within the first week of reporting the discrimination complaint.
- Privacy And Confidentiality: Another value you need to emphasize when creating equal employment opportunity policies is the importance of privacy and confidentiality of both parties involved in the discrimination case. Thus, after dealing with the complaint, no one in the committee should go and discuss or share the matter with other stakeholders in the organization. Furthermore, they should deal with the parties involved and then move on with other issues in the organization after the case is over.
In essence, the anti-discriminatory committee and other organizational stakeholders need to work together in order to uphold respect and equity for the organization. This allows the company to work efficiently and achieve its goals.
Organizations establish policies to guide and give directions to the stakeholders on company policies, goals, objectives, and dos and don’ts. One of the essential policies is the equal employment opportunity policy. This policy should contain the following aspects: its purpose and objectives, how to file for complaints, a definition of discrimination and harassment, and values the anti-criminatory committee should uphold. Such policy is crucial to help deal with discrimination and move towards a positive and diverse workplace environment. Always remember equality implies individuality.
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