Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Unfair Treatment in the Workplace

When an employee is treated unfairly at the workplace, this can lead to any number of negative situations. This begins as decreased motivation and can lead to a significant drop in workplace performance.

What is unfair treatment?

If someone on your task team is being treated unfairly because of discrimination, they will begin to feel ashamed, scared and even very angry. 

As they feel the effects of unfair treatment, the productivity of the team can also become affected. There has been a wealth of studies that show that unfair treatment in the workplace can lead to a lack of inspiration and motivation. 

No good for results for your business.

There is a good chance that you will see a steady climb in the number of absentees in the regular work week. For some strange reason, your workers will look for ways to avoid coming to work if they feel they are in a situation where there is a potential for unfair treatment. 

When is treatment unfair?

Treating anyone in an unfair is illegal when it is done for any of the listed reasons: 

  • Age.
  • Disability.
  • Maternity and pregnancy.
  • Marriage and civil partnership.
  • Gender reassignment.
  • Race.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Gender.
  • Religion or belief.

While it is not illegal to treat someone differently because of the clothes they wear or other characteristics of their personality, it can be equally negative and have the same consequences as any other type of bullying. 

It will be up to you and your staff to make a good example and create an environment where people can operate free of bullying. 

Examples of Unfair Treatment in the Workplace

Unfair treatment in the chain of command.

Spreading rumors about an employee.

Overlooking someone for a promotion for no reason.

Making offensive comments or social media posts about someone.

Excusing such comments as 'banter'.

Making someone's life difficult through criticism and assignment to menial tasks.

Demotion, transfer, or dismissal without due process and disciplinary procedure.

Unfair treatment at work due to illness

If a member on your staff suffers from a disability or mental condition, it is important that you provide the support they need to make their task manageable. 

For example, there are changes that can be made in the workstation of a particular employee that will make their work life easier? 

Furthermore, make sure that your employees know that taking a day for mental health is every bit as important as taking the day for physical health reasons. 

There is a good chance that those with mental conditions will be taking more days off than those with physical conditions, simply because of the nature of these conditions. Steps should be taken to make allowances for this. The alternative is the potential to face accusations of workplace discrimination. 

How to control and prevent unfair treatment

You should make it very clear to your employees that you offer a safe work environment completely free from discrimination and harassment. Make sure you clearly outline this in your staff handbook and provide each of your staff members with a copy of this when they begin their tenure in your employment. Many companies find outsourcing HR can help to prevent unfair treatment.

Then, be sure to keep your handbook fully-updated and keep your teams supplied with the latest copies. 

It will be important to outline the types of behavior that you will not tolerate in your place of work. You should also clearly describe the consequences and grievance procedure taken should unfair treatment be detected in your organization. Furthermore, make equal note of the expected behaviors, attitudes and culture employees and senior members demonstrate while within your employment. 

The grievance procedure

You are responsible for the health and well-being of the people in your employment. Therefore, if allegations of unfair treatment are found in your organization, you must act. If an employee has come to you with a complaint of unfair treatment, you must arrange a hearing to understand and address this issue. 

Then, you must make a proper investigation and arrive at an outcome. 

The disciplinary procedure

The next step will be to take decisive action and you will want to do this on the solid ground of established fact not hearsay or the word of a single employee. Speak with as many people as you can to gather facts that will support commensurate action. 

After this, you should recommend a hearing in which the two parties can make amends and clear up any confusion. 

The final outcome could be one of three options. First, if this offense was minor and the offender does not have a history of misconduct, a written warning can be issued and a written response in the form of a formal apology can put a happy ending to the situation. 

If the offender has received this type of warning before or the offense was somewhat notable, the next step could be a final warning to cease specific misconduct. After this and in cases of especially egregious behavior, you have no choice but to terminate the employment of the offender. 

The most important point is that all action taken is fair and unbiased and done for the sole purpose of establishing a positive workplace.