Avoid Unconscious Bias in the Workplace - U.S. Staffing Issues
Am I a Biased Manager in the Workplace? And Does That Put Me at Risk?
I’m not biased!
At least I didn’t think I was, until recently..
We all carry bias baggage with us, and as soon as we set foot in our workplace it follows us in like a creepy shadow. Unwittingly, we carry deeply subconscious attitudes towards gender, race, age, disability, and religion. You may not think of yourself as biased, but you will be surprised with what you learn in this article…
Unconscious bias happens naturally and most of the time without us knowing we are discriminating. This bias can drive us to make decisions that may land a company in a costly lawsuit.
What is old?
- My 28-year-old son thinks he is old because an 18-year-old acquaintance speaks a lingo only known to his younger generation. My dad, God rest him, thought I was young at 60 because he was 90 – which really does seem old to me. So, it is all relative in a funny kind of way…until you try to get a job and the young hiring manager thinks you are unfit for the role due to your age – then it is not so funny!
- The risk for an American company is litigation – age discrimination laws are in place and companies can be left hugely out of pocket when the case goes to court.
- Imagine yourself as a transgender woman and how difficult it can be to be non-binary in a largely binary world. You have all the credentials and more to be the perfect choice for the job, but the way you look or dress makes the hiring manager uncomfortable, so you are passed over.
- This is illegal and will lead to a court case over gender discrimination – the winner won’t be the company discriminating.
Just being female
- Women have put up with sex discrimination for centuries if not millennia and though we have made great strides recently it is still there. Male applicants for historically ‘male jobs’ will have more sway in getting the job over a female applicant. As an example; the role of a mechanic generally will go to a man. Recently I heard of a woman that had to open her own mechanic shop to get the opportunity – the shop also doubled as a nail salon. She came from a family of mechanics and was very skilled, but could not land the role.
- Laws are in place to correct these discriminating situations, if you do not correct them in your business they can lead you to a very costly court case.
There is no getting around it, most people feel more comfortable around those whom they are most like. However, it has been proven that a company’s profits rise with a more diversified workforce. However, this takes a top-down approach and a lot of work company-wide to present a united culture.
Imagine having a risk-free environment with no worry of lawsuits…
A hidden cost of hiring in the U.S. is that you are always at risk from lawsuits.
Unconscious Bias creates risk whether you know you are consciously biased or not.
Remember your bias is in the eye of the employee, not necessarily in your own perception.
At any time, an employee could sue you should they correctly or incorrectly feel biased against you. There’s a business cost to this. Either the real cost of the actual lawsuit or the cost of insurance to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.
Remember it is very common for a state labor board to side with the employee rather than the employer.
Reducing Business Risk Through Hiring Offshore Virtual Assistants
Why not remove the legal obstacle altogether and hire an offshore virtual assistant? You’ll hire the person for their talents only – gender, race, age, disability, and religion don’t factor in. And you will be hiring from a very well-educated and loyal workforce.
Not just your costs drop but your risk from unconscious discrimination flies out the window!