Difficulties will always arise when trying to implement any new policy in an establishment, however some of the difficulties are easy to get over and some of them require more effort but eventually the promotion of anti-discriminatory practice should be taking place in all places of work. When people have different upbringings then it can be difficult to make them see how some of the values they were raised with may be discriminatory (1), one way to attempt to overcome this could be by including various different examples of discrimination within the company policy. This should mean that people will be more aware of different things that could be seen as discriminatory to those who don’t have the same beliefs and values as them. For example many schools put up posters of what bullying is by depicting different situations in which one child is put in a position of vulnerability by others, this could easily be done to cover different forms of discrimination such as racism or sexism. This would be most effective as a non-invasive stance of reminding people that not everyone thinks the same.
This could also be helpful if people are unsure of whether or not they are being discriminated against as they may have a better example of discrimination which they might relate to, this would then lead to more cases of discrimination being reported allowing for the review of company policies. Another way of overcoming the issue of people not reporting discrimination could be to create an alternative way to report it rather than just going to HR as having contact through e-mail or another form of complaint as many people may feel as though they are whistleblowing. Whilst most people would want to remain anonymous in case of any consequences, it would be best if the complaints were instead kept confidential as anonymity means that you can’t answer any follow up questions as there is no way of knowing who made the original complaint (2).
Using an e-mail service will probably increase the number of complaints made because it takes away some of the shame that some people feel when they are asking someone for help over a matter that they may feel like they should be able to handle themselves. Staff training could also be advantageous in this situation because it will educate people on how you should treat others and ways in which you can detect discrimination taking place. There is specialist anti-discrimination training that has been put in place by the government in an effort to reduce the possibility of it occurring; the training offered also has sub categories if an organisation believes that focus needs to be on one particular area. An example of this would be the Anti-Discrimination awareness training which includes training on; bullying; sexual harassment; discrimination, harassment and bullying awareness; racism, ageism, disability awareness and many more (3).
The aim of this training would be to make people more aware of what could be discriminating in the eyes of other people even if the training doesn’t necessarily support your views. Whilst this would be appropriate for those who have more of an open mind and are willing to alter some of their views, it has to be said that you won’t be able to change everyone and chances are that some people may stand by their views. For example you may have a worker who believes that it is a woman’s job to be a carer so will continue to not hire men for any care positions that come up as it conflicts with their beliefs. However at the same time, many people have an open mind and will most likely see the potential error of their ways and be more accepting of things which are out of the norm for them which will not only lead to a more diverse work force but also a happier workforce because people feel included.
Reviewing the policy towards discrimination will also help to overcome issues promoting anti-discriminatory practice, the policy could include harsher sanctions towards those who discriminate. Ideally a nationwide policy including sanctions would be made because workplaces have basic guidelines to follow, but can largely chose their own interpretation of that sanction. However different establishments may have to have different sanctions because their fields of work are so different, for example sanctions towards schools or hospitals will be much harsher because they are a fundamental part of society and something that everyone has the right to use (4). In terms of health and social care, a care home may allow workers to have an input into what is included in the policy and making sure that it is clear to others what the policy is stating. All policies should also use a government defined definition of what discrimination is and then relate that to the care of the residents in their home and the staff that work there.
Making harsher sanctions should mean that people have a greater incentive to follow the policy as if you say for example that repeated complaints of discrimination will lead to a suspension without pay, people may think twice about whether or not it is worth it. Again in terms of review, legislation reviews could also lead to overcoming any difficulties because it sets out new guidelines for the public to follow in terms of how they are cared for. In 2015 the Mental Health Act code of practice went under a review and now includes things such as involving the patient and their family in how they are cared for which means that they can have more personalised care and have access to personalised care. This means that if their family believes that the best care for the individual is with specific carers then they can try and organise for that group of carers to be present more often because they understand the individual and their needs better than carers who keep changing₅.
To conclude, many issues surrounding the implementation of discriminatory practice can be resolved by existing provisions made by the government. The provisions are also accessible to everyone and not very expensive to use meaning that no establishment should have an issue with implanting anti-discriminatory practice. It has to be said that not everything will be able to be provided by the government and the situation surrounding discrimination may affect how many changes are made. If discrimination is seen as a major problem then a lot will be changed surrounding the company policy as a whole whereas if there are little problems surrounding discrimination then it may just go as far as to have a few posters put up as a friendly reminder. The final important factor is that you will never have anyone who will follow the rules entirely, so making sure that reminders of policy and regulations are put out regularly is also incredibly important.
1. Rasheed, Hetherington and Irvine; BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care, Pearson 2010. 2. http://www.pcaw.org.uk/faq-answers 22/11/14
3. http://www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au/education_and_training/training_calendar_and_courses/anti-discrimination_awareness_training_programs 22/11/14 4. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ 22/11/14