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Use this six-step strategy to avoid 'New York' style racism

by , 30 October 2013
New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating allegations of racism at Macy's and Barneys, two of New York's most famous department stores. News reports suggest that the investigation comes after four complaints about alleged racial profiling at the New York City shopping havens surfaced in the past week. This incident has once again cast the spotlight on racism. While we await the outcome of the investigation, make sure you equip yourself with these strategies to ensure a racism-free workplace.

According to the Daily News, Schneiderman's office has sent letters to the CEOs of both retailers, asking for information on their policies for stopping, detaining and questioning customers based on race. They have until Friday to comply.

While your workplace might not be a high end store, it's certainly not immune to racism or the need to do something about it.
And since South African courts have a zero-tolerance for racism, it's in your best interest to follow the old maxim 'prevention is better than cure'.

Here are six methods you can use to create a racism-free workplace

#1: Train existing staff:
Get all existing employees to understand and sign your racism policy.

#2: Bring it into induction: Make sure your employees get an in-depth introduction to the policy during induction. Your employees must know and be told explicitly that they're entering a zero tolerance zone in the workplace.

#3: Regular information and awareness sessions: Let your Employment Equity Forum drive this process.

#4: Make sure your grievance procedure works: Ensure employees lodge racism complaints and any other forms of intolerance. You must then handle these complaints correctly. Make sure you have trained mediators to deal with this kind of conflict.

#5: Conduct regular cultural sensitivity training sessions: Most employment equity consultants offer cultural sensitivity training. These training sessions teach employees to be sensitive to the cultural diversity within their workplace, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

#6: Act swiftly, consistently and in line with your zero tolerance approach when employees infringe on your racism policies and rules. Discipline may not always be appropriate, but employees must see you take immediate action.

Remember, it's one thing to have a racism policy; it's another to ensure everyone in your workplace knows about the policy and enforces it.

So use these strategies to create a racism-free workplace.



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