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Don't let unconscious bias lead to a discrimination lawsuit

You've recently started a business. Things are looking promising. You will soon need to hire more people to help keep up with your success and plans for growth. You'll likely also be promoting people who have been with you from the start to more senior positions with greater responsibility. The last thing you need is an accusation of discrimination in your employment decisions.

That couldn't happen to you. You're an open-minded person. You hire and promote the best people for the job, with no other considerations. So do the people you trust to help handle the human resources aspect of your business. At least, that's what you believe.

The fact is that we all have unconscious biases. Few of us like to admit it. However, if we don't recognize them, they can impact our personnel decisions. Even if you didn't intentionally discriminate against someone, or more than one person, if there's sufficient evidence that your actions were discriminatory, they can take legal action.

One way that you can help avoid accusations of discrimination is to have a diverse workplace. Some businesses lend themselves to diversity more than others. However, when business owners hire, retain and promote people of different races, genders, sexual orientation, age and backgrounds, they lower their chances of being accused of discrimination.

A diverse workplace provides a multitude of other advantages to a business owner. When people with different perspectives and life experiences work on a project or problem, they bring a greater variety of ideas and solutions. If you're working with the public, a diverse workforce can help you better meet the needs of all of your customers and help a broader array of customers feel comfortable dealing with your business.

By being known as a business that values diversity, you're likely to attract the best candidates for your jobs. You also engender loyalty among your current employees, so you reduce costly turnover and help your employees grow into leaders as they work their way up in the business.

No matter how hard they work to avoid bias or even the appearance of it, sometimes business owners still find themselves defendants in employee lawsuits for discrimination. These can be costly as well as harmful to your company's and your own reputation. Don't try to handle such an action without experienced legal guidance.

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Scott Law Group, PLLC
210 N. Main Street
Suite 322
Kernersville, NC 27284

Toll Free: 800-566-2907
Phone: 336-310-8569
Fax: 336-993-5030

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