Discrimination takes numerous forms in our, now, very diverse society. Whereas years ago discrimination was mostly about race and religion, it now covers more broader aspects of society, dealing with gender differences, poverty, disability and age related, political views can also be classed as prejudicial, as well as other factions. Discrimination needs to be tackled in all areas of society and it must be challenged at every turn when it raises its ugly head.
There are a number of ways that can be approached to deal with a situation.
Firstly the person can be approached discreetly to be advised on their unacceptable behaviour. If the person was making a flippant remark, without thinking about the hurtful consequences that could entail, then if they are made aware of their actions, then maybe an apology will suffice to diffuse the situation. The old adage “Familiarity breeds contempt” is never a truer word, as sometimes colleagues become so entwined with their work-mates, that they think that making a judgmental remark, if only in jest, is an okay thing to do, but may be come a “joke too far” for that person.
(ie A member of staff is of Asian ethnicity and sometimes flippant remarks are made in light hearted conversation, but the person in question sometimes feels that they are making a comment about her person and also her way of life. I know that she is hurt, and angry at the ignorance that is being conveyed, when these remarks are made). At this moment in time she appeases the situation, by walking out of the room, to avoid any confrontation.
An informal complaint can be made where the line manager can be approached to deal with the individual(s) in question, and explain what the incident entailed, and if you want the line manager to approach the people involved. Or a meeting for all work colleagues can be arranged so no one person is having the finger pointed at them.
If this has not appeased the “injured party” then a formal complaint can be made, which will use the settings procedures for dealing with a “grievance”. An appeal procedure is in place for any outcome that the person is not happy with. In some more serious cases, this can be taken to an Employment Tribunal, pending on the circumstances of the incident that has occurred. If an incident is dealt with promptly and a complaint is made through the correct channels, then it makes the person aware their behavior has not been acceptable, and hopefully will make them think about their actions in the future.
Many partners, today, live in same sex relationships, others tend to co-habit, others wish to change their gender etc., and many other colleagues will have very conservative views about this. It boils down to the legends “live and let live” “each to their own”. Whatever your views, the situation will not change, and if it does not directly affect you, then one should basically accept the situation for what it is. No snide comments need to be made, and all should be able to carry on their professional duties and work together as a team, regardless of ones personal views.
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