Indirect Discrimination Case
Workplace diversity and inclusion are essential terms in this century. A colleague with the ailment was discriminated against at work due to changing working shift patterns. Diane was on medication for schizoaffective disorder, which caused her to become sleepy in the evenings. It was a retail outlet, and the store was experiencing a peak season with high sales in the late evenings. The manager decided to alter shift patterns such that all employees would work in the late evenings. Since Diane was forced to take the medicines while at work, she became drowsy and could not perform optimally. On the third evening, she was summoned by the manager and warned against her non-committal efforts during the evening shifts. Although Diane explained her disability situation, the manager was stern about his decision, and she struggled for the two weeks that all employees worked evening shifts.
Diane’s performance in the late evening shifts was below average. As such, the method the manager used to resolve the problem was ineffective and illegal. The sleep debt occasioned by failing to rest in the early evenings also affected Diane’s performance during the day. Her supervisor also wrote negative reports in her biweekly appraisals, compounding the issue further. Had the manager followed legal advice on workplace equality, inclusion, and diversity, the problem would have been resolved sooner and better.
The store manager did not address Diane’s equality issue properly. In such cases, the law requires the employer to show that there is a good reason for the new arrangement and justify the appropriateness and necessity of the change (Jones, 2021). While the retailer made more sales during those two-week evening shifts, the manager cannot justify a good reason for failure to exempt Diane from considering her condition. In addition, the employee asked for adjustments and made the employer aware of her disability. Since the issue involves an indirect discrimination problem, the law requires the manager to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate marginalized groups (Jones, 2021). A reasonable adjustment must be affordable to the business, practical, reduce or eliminate disadvantages to the disabled worker, and not harm or threaten the safety of others (Chiner et al., 2021). Exempting Diane from work for the two weeks would have met all these criteria. Schizoaffective disorder is one of the mental illnesses that qualify one to be classified under the disability bracket for employment purposes (Chiner et al., 2021). When dealing with equality and diversity, employers must include disability as a factor of consideration. Therefore, the most effective method of handling the problem was to excuse Diane from the evening shifts as a fulfillment of the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The Meaning of Inclusion
Most people use inclusion and diversity interchangeably, failing to recognize the difference between the terms. While diversity refers to the employment of people from different social, religious, ethnic, educational, and national backgrounds, inclusion describes a situation where all employees enjoy equitable and fair access to resources and opportunities. Respectful and fair treatment for everyone is the foundations of workplace inclusion. In an inclusive environment, the voices of all workers are heard and considered in decision-making. In organizations where only the management makes decisions without the input or opinions of workers, although there are diverse teams, there is no inclusion.
Inclusion strategies must aim at gathering employees’ opinions and incorporating them into running the company. Some of these include leadership training on inclusivity, the creation of resource groups, the formation of an inclusion council, and the provision of spaces that encourage interactions (Gym & Rule, 2021). Leaders are trained to avoid unconscious bias when handling employee issues and on active listening to ensure everyone feels that their ideas are heard. Employee resource groups enable employees with common interests to come together and share their stories at the workplace. An inclusion council actively undertakes goal setting for the organization’s inclusivity agenda and achieves it through hiring and retention of the workforce. Diversity spaces, such as breastfeeding rooms and yoga points, encourage employees to share and discuss various matters. These techniques are effectively used to create inclusion by making everyone feel welcome and appreciated at work.
While these strategies are effective in supporting workplace inclusion, more approaches also work. For instance, creating culture days allows employees to highlight their backgrounds and share their customs with others (Gym & Rule, 2021). During such events, employees speak about their culture and listen to others do the same. When the activities are done with open-mindedness and respectfulness, the spirit of inclusivity is elevated. Another technique is to expand inclusion training to include all the employees. As training takes place, leaders can locate underrepresented individuals and connect them with external and internal mentors (Gym & Rule, 2021). Other initiatives can be implemented at the team level, where members are encouraged to discuss their differences and similarities. When employees understand each other differences, they can act more respectfully. In addition, the hiring process can be intentionally designed to recruit people who are open-minded and supportive of inclusivity. Such efforts begin with the removal of biased language in job adverts and the interviewing process. Additionally, the website and social media pages must display the company’s dedication to inclusion. All these and more strategies are effective in upholding inclusivity in the workplace.
Chiner, E., Gómez-Puerta, M., & Cardona-Moltó, M. C. (2021). Supported employment as a strategy for access to inclusive employment for people with disabilities: A review. Psychological Applications and Trends 2021, 325-329. Web.
Gym, P., & Rule, A. I. M. (2021). How to foster diversity and inclusion in a hybrid workplace. Mindgym. Web.
Jones, K. (2021). Managing information sharing between disability advisers and academic staff: Implications of disclosure, DSA arrangements and reasonable adjustments. The Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, 164.