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The easiest way to prevent discrimination in the workplace...

by , 27 February 2013
Politicians often show us what not to do in the workplace. Minister of Women, Children, and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana faces a complaint of discrimination for making negative comments about religion, gender and culture while speaking against violence against women and children. If any of your employees make similar comments about sensitive topics and another employee complains of discrimination, you'll be the one who ends up in hot water with the Department of Labour! Here's what you need to do to keep your workplace free of similar discrimination charges.

Recent news headlines about Reeva Steenkamp's death and the rape, mutilation and murder of Anene Booysen show we need to take action against violence against women and children.
 
But you need to be careful of the way you word your views on sensitive topics or you could end up in court for discrimination.
 
Wouldn't that be ironic?
 
Take Minister of Women, Children and People with Disability Lulu Xingwana for example.
 
Meant to lead the way on issues of violence and discrimination in the workplace, she now faces a complaint of discrimination in the Equality Court from Civil rights organisation Afri-Forum, reports IOL News.
 
This comes after Xingwana remarked on an Australian news programme that 'young Afrikaner men and their Calvinistic faith' should be blamed for violence against women and children in South Africa.
 
That's discrimination on three accounts – race, faith and gender – all in one statement!
 
Watch for these 20 areas of discrimination in the workplace
 
The Department of Labour says there are 20 areas of discrimination you need to prevent in the workplace.
 
These include race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, criminal record or birth. 
 
That's why you need to make sure your employees are well aware of any sensitive topics, in order to prevent any claims of discrimination in the workplace.
 
Take action now to prevent discrimination in the workplace
 
The easiest way to prevent discrimination in the workplace is to make sure you've clearly explained the behaviours that count as discrimination in your company's code of conduct
 
'Your code of conduct must focus on professional standards of behaviour you expect form your employees in your business,' writes employment expert Lizle Louw in The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
 
Then make sure each employee reads through the code of conduct to ensure everyone is up-to-date on the topic.
 
Handle a claim of unfair discrimination in the workplace correctly to avoid a fine from the Department of Labour and ending up in the Equality Court!
 
If you do still receive a claim of unfair discrimination in the workplace, remember to file it along with a record of any actions taken in the matter in case of an inspection from the Department of Labour, advises Rachel Paterson in the Labour Bulletin.
 
You should keep this file in your HR department, so it's easy to access if a Department of Labour inspector arrives on your doorstep to do an EE inspection.
 
Implement these strategies now to make sure you stay out of the Equality Court!

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