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People want to work for companies where they feel included and treated equitably. They want to bring their authentic selves to work without fear of discrimination. Although companies of all sizes are required to adhere to some level of federal anti-discrimination laws, employees expect the organization they work for to go beyond legal compliance. That’s why it’s crucial for organizations to write — and enact — anti-discrimination policies that go beyond federal requirements. Below are 10 pieces of a strong anti-discrimination policy.

Key Components

  1. Company mission statement. Anti-discrimination should be tied into the organization’s overarching mission, vision, and values, whether directly or indirectly. Be sure to begin your anti-discrimination policy with your mission statement to set the stage of your organization’s culture.
  2. Declaration of DEI as part of the company’s values. Make the tie between diversity, equity, and inclusion and your company’s values. How does DEI help your company achieve its mission?
  3. Definition of diversity. Be sure to define diversity beyond race and gender identity, including many dimensions of diversity (i.e. sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, generation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, family structure). By defining diversity in this way, you make it clear that discrimination will not be tolerated against any group of people. 
  4. List of measures taken to ensure equal opportunity. How is the company ensuring anti-discrimination? Are you conducting annual pay equity audits or measuring retention rates against demographics such as race, gender identity, and age? 
  5. Point of contact to report discrimination. There should be multiple, clear avenues for employees to report discrimination that they experience or witness. 

Additional Items to Include

  1. Zero tolerance language. To make it abundantly clear that your workplace will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, make sure to include the phrase “zero tolerance” in your statement. 
  2. Specific language around sexual harassment. Despite decades of sexual harassment prevention training, it still persists as a workplace issue. It’s important to define what constitutes sexual harassment and include guidelines on consensual workplace relationships.
  3. A statement on retaliation. It’s critical to make it clear that reports of discrimination will never be met with retaliation.
  4. A statement on confidentiality. Make sure that employees know that the details of reports of discrimination will remain confidential, and that as the accuser, they have the right to remain anonymous.
  5. More than one avenue for reporting harassment. Having more than one point of contact for discrimination complaints is critical. For instance, if the only contact is the vice president of HR, but someone believes this person to be discriminatory, there should be another person to contact. 

Going beyond federal requirements proves your company prioritizes employee well-being. Having a detailed and thought-out anti-discrimination policy shows employees that your company is committed to fostering an inclusive and safe place for all people to do their best work. Your company can amplify its anti-discrimination training by integrating DEI education that is engaging and tied to business outcomes. Discover how in our white paper, “Better Training for Better Business.”

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