10 questions to determine if you have an equal opportunity workplace
By Joanna Weekes
An equal opportunity workplace is a workplace where all workers:
- Have equal access to jobs, opportunities and careers based on their knowledge and skills;
- Are diverse in their attributes
- Are treated with dignity and respect; and
- Are free from discrimination.
An equal opportunity workplace will make your workers feel valued and willing to perform to the best of their ability. Your business will work more efficiently, reducing absenteeism and staff turnover.
A workplace that is not equal opportunity may have a negative impact on the health and safety of your workers and for example, lead to stress.
Do you have an equal opportunity workplace?
Answer the following questions to assess whether you have an equal opportunity workplace:
- Does your business have a harassment contact officer?
- Have you implemented and publicised a procedure for handling equal opportunity issues?
- Have you developed and publicised a sexual harassment policy and associated procedures?
- Have you ensured that all management and supervisors are trained in handling equal opportunity issues?
- Have you removed gender bias in all policy manuals and increased the availability of female facilities at all worksites?
- Do you monitor progress by using exit interviews and climate surveys to see whether sexual harassment is an issue in your workplace?
- Have you held sexual harassment training sessions for all employees, backed up by a publicity campaign and reminders at other training sessions?
- Do you hire an interpreter where English is not the first language for your employees to fully understand their employment terms?
- Do you offer similar terms and conditions for people in the same role with comparable skills and experience (even if they do not raise the issue)?
- Do you allocate rosters in a fair and equitable manner?
So have a think about these questions and what they may reflect about your workplace… If you answered mostly ‘no’ you may need to take some remedial action.
Remember, putting resources into improving equal opportunity for each and every member of your workforce now will benefit you in the future.
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