« »

Friday, July 17, 2015

Creating and sustaining a fair workplace

An ideal workplace consists of employees who feel like their voices are heard, their concerns are met, their opinions matter, and that they are treated fairly and equally. In turn, such a workplace remains productive, successful, and has good morale. 

While the idea of a fair workplace seems easy enough to conceive, it can be difficult to establish and sustain due to differences among employees and employers. An unfair workplace is more than just differing opinions; according to the employment lawyers at Cohen & Jaffe, racial/sex/gender discrimination, age discrimination, and wrongful termination are just a few serious issues that can contribute to an unfair working environment. As a business owner, you have the power to make your workplace fair and as a result will have employees that not only feel respected, but will respect you and your business.

Know the rights of your employees

A workplace doesn’t automatically become “fair” just because you, as the business owner, deems it as fair. In order to establish a fair workplace, you must know your employees’ rights first. Your employeeshave workplace rights that include working in a safe environment, free discrimination regarding such personal information such as age, gender, and disability. Additionally, depending on the size of your company, your employees have the right to family and medical leave. Recognizing all of your employees as equals, is a crucial step in creating a fair workplace.

To demand respect, you must give respect

Young children are often reminded that they should treat others the way they would like to be treated; this concept is no different for adults in a workplace setting. If you expect your employees to respect you, simply because you are the boss and have nothing to offer in return, you will be an unpopular and disrespected boss. Rather than having expectations that you have no intention of following yourself, create expectations that you can follow as well. Whether you are adamant about a dress code, require a certain amount of confidentiality within the workplace, or expect that employees be honest and abide by standard operating procedures, you are creating a culture of a fair workplace.

Resolve issues immediately

Even workplaces that start out as a fair working environment may be vulnerable to conflict and unjust. The best way to prevent such conflict from occurring and continuing is by addressing issues immediately. For instance, if you have an employee who likes to tell a “dirty” joke from time to time, but your company has no tolerance for sexual harassment, the employee is violating company policy. If the employee is not held accountable for such violation (and proper action is not taken), the workplace is no longer a fair place of employment.

While it may be difficult to address ethical conflicts within the workplace, ignoring the problem will only make it worse. To be a fair workplace, you must treat every employee equally, even when it comes to conflict. Just because your filthy mouthed employee “didn’t mean anything” behind the jokes, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again and it doesn’t automatically bring fairness back into the workplace.

Fair workplaces require a plan, consistency, and a mutual understanding between all employees, including you as the employer. Overtime, you will see success and happiness in your business.

Image: Konstantin Chagin; Royalty Free; Shutter Stock