In California and elsewhere, more and more people are working remotely. While that gives employees the ability to work right from the comfort and safety of their own homes, workplace discrimination and harassment can still occur. If that happens, it opens the door for affected employees to file claims. There are ways to prevent discrimination and harassment against remote workers.
What is indirect discrimination?
Discrimination and harassment that is directed against remote workers might occur as a result of those people being a member of a protected class. For instance, if the actions are against individuals on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, gender identity, or disability, it’s against the law and carries serious repercussions.
If an employer gives workers who come into the office more opportunities such as raises, promotions, and certain benefits but leaves remote employees out, it can be considered discrimination. For example, if remote workers have disabilities and require reasonable accommodations and face this type of discrimination, it is against the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How can potential discrimination claims be avoided?
Employers can avoid being the subject of a discrimination and harassment claim if they take certain measures. The following should be considered:
• There should not be a policy that prevents remote workers from advancing in their careers. Remote workers should be able to get the same benefits and opportunities as those who commute to an office.
• Opportunities for promotion should be heavily advertised by the employer. Remote employees should be able to gain the same opportunities as those who go to the office based on their level of skill and experience.
• Remote workers should be able to get fair performance reviews and promotions just like any other worker.
• Training should be online instead of in-person so that remote workers know how to properly perform their jobs and are not put at a disadvantage.
• Women on maternity leave should get the same promotion opportunities as any other workers.
• Employers should never make assumptions about women with children, such as that they won’t be reliable employees.
• Employers should never omit employees with disabilities from promotion opportunities. If an employee with a disability requires reasonable accommodations, they should get them even if they work remotely.
• Employers must never disregard remote workers just because they work from home. Employers must always ensure that those employees get the same information and opportunities as those who go to the office.
Discrimination and harassment have no business in the workplace. All employees, whether or not they work remotely, deserve the same respect and opportunities.