Thursday, May 7, 2009

A “super-sized” lesson in diversity training

McDonald’s settled a gay discrimination case yesterday and agreed to require diversity training for managers at 30 Louisville restaurants. McDonald’s must also pay $2,000 each to two men who said a restaurant employee directed anti-gay slurs at them.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a complaint with the Louisville Human Relations Commission on behalf of the two men last year. According to the Courrier-Journal, the two men alleged that after ordering food, a female employee directed several anti-gay slurs toward them and used other derogatory language. They complained to a manager, who said she didn’t see the matter as a “big deal.”

McDonald’s said in a company statement that the matter has been resolved and that the company has strict policies against any discrimination in its restaurants.

"We work with our restaurant managers and crew to ensure our policies are followed and that we provide a respectful environment for all our employees and customers," the statement said.

The case serves as a “super-sized” lesson that when you have your attorney draft an anti-discrimination policy ensure it states that your company is committed to creating equal opportunity for all employees and customers. State that your company will not tolerate any form of discrimination including age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and sexual orientation.

Your anti-discrimination policy should also include an outlined procedure for making, investigating and resolving complaints. Train managers to follow the policy, know how to identify discrimination and how to respond to a compliant against one of their employees.

Ongoing training on diversity in the workplace and setting clear anti-discrimination policies can be your best way to avoid problems.

What else can employers do to avoid discrimination? What has worked or hasn’t worked in your company?

Leave a comment and share your advice.

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