How To Fight Discrimination In The Workplace

How To Fight Discrimination In The WorkplaceEven though it’s popularly touted that healthcare employment is equal opportunity these days, discrimination does exist in some hospitals and some regions. Discrimination is illegal; most large hospitals have anti-discrimination policies in place. However, discrimination need not be blatant in order to turn your work environment hostile. Subtle discrimination can make your life hell just as easily. In this article, we point out ways that you can fight discrimination in the workplace without losing your job and your dignity.

Let Them Know When You’re Offended

When you hear off-colored remarks concerning your age, reduced ability due to pregnancy, color, race, sex or size, what do you do? Do you just keep silent and plod on with your work? Your silence will only prod the discriminators to greater efforts. When something makes you uncomfortable, speak up. Whether the discrimination is targeted against you or someone you know, speak up in defense. People don’t like to listen to discriminatory remarks but not many of them let their true feelings show. Let your nursing colleague know that you consider his or her comments to be inappropriate, discriminatory, and therefore offensive. By taking up a stand, you can cut the comments down to minimum.

Keep Your Performance Metrics High

Those who make comments sometimes target nursing staff who allow their performance to go down. By keeping your performance and your conduct above reproach, you can be prepared for any sort of discriminatory behavior. Your professional, positive and productive conduct will not allow anyone to use any reason to discriminate against you. You will be earn employer appreciation and enjoy preferential treatment, which more or less puts you in the protected class. Your employer cannot legally discriminate against you if you are a top performing nurse.

Be Positive And Confident

Over time, nurses have become very sensitive towards discrimination and with good reason. If you are denied a promotion or if you feel that younger and perhaps less qualified nursing coworkers are climbing the corporate ladder ahead of you, check with your senior nurse or nursing manager first. Do not assume that it’s happening because of your race, color, sex, age, size or whatever reason. It’s possible you need to improve your performance in some areas. It’s also possible that your nursing managers and administrators have something else in mind for you. If you keep your sensitivity against possible discrimination forefront in your mind, you won’t be able to approach your nursing manager with confidence. If your work is good, you have the right to question why you’re not being promoted. Your confidence will eliminate any discriminatory thoughts your nursing manager may have. At the same time, by staying positive and confident, you will be able to alert your hospital staff management of discrimination if any.

Network With Similar Nursing Staff

If your hospital has a diversity recruitment or mentoring program, make a point to join it. If there’s no such program, check if there are others in your hospital that could be classed under the minority segment. The idea is not to form unions, but support groups that can discuss common issues and mentor each other. A group can also easily represent minority issues to hospital management for quick resolution. Network with minority nursing staff in top positions and find out how they dealt with discriminatory attitudes in their nursing career. Pass on this knowledge to younger members in your minority group. Work with hospital management to recruit new nurses from diverse races, age groups and backgrounds. This will help add a little diversity to your workplace and reduce the scope for discrimination.

File A Claim If Needed

Keep up the fight against discrimination. However, if you find that discrimination is rampant in your hospital, so much so that the hospital’s policies are colored with it, then you can file a suit. Remember, the law is on your side. The US has equal opportunity, non-discriminatory employment laws. When you’re entitled to something under the country’s laws, there’s no call for anyone to deny it to you. Go ahead and file a liability suit if you have the grounds, the means and the evidence. However, you may not be able to do this if the evidence is merely heresy, with subtle murmurings and even subtler ribbing against your minority aspect. If you are totally uncomfortable working in a place where you feel discriminated against, leave and seek a more positive, diverse and better work environment.

If You’re A Healthcare Employer

All along, we’ve elaborated on how to fight discrimination if you’re a minority nursing staff member. However, if you happen to be a healthcare employer and you find that there’s a discriminatory attitude within the workplace, you can do a great deal to prevent it.

  • Set up diversity recruitment, mentoring, networking and support group within your organization. Make sure that all minority concerns are heard.
  • While allowing your nursing staff the opportunity to express themselves, ensure individual anonymity and impartiality. Do not decide on which side is justified until you have all the facts.
  • Study the US employment laws paying attention to the paragraphs that discuss equal opportunity and anti-discriminatory topics. Print out these pages, highlight relevant sections and frame them in your permanent notice board. Let the pages remind everyone that discrimination will not be tolerated in your hospital.
  • Paste a copy of your hospital’s stand against any and all forms of discrimination in nursing staff rooms, staff canteens and staff meeting rooms. Highlight the punishment that’ll be meted out if your anti-discriminatory policies are flouted. Let these act as daily reminders to those that have a tendency to discriminate.
  • Include your hospital’s anti-discriminatory policy in detail within the contract pages that your nursing staff is required to sign upon recruitment.
  • Protect your hospital from potential discriminatory lawsuits by training and educating all nursing administrators and senior nurses in your company’s policies. Make your senior nursing staff attend regular group seminars to reinforce these tenets.

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