Being fair in the workplace involves being civil and respectful to each other, as well as eliminating or at least reducing favouritism. Favouritism and inequity can cause problems at work by making some individuals feel inferior to others, although the work performance may be similar.

Promoting respect
This is a key part of working well together in a work environment. This could come in the form of a training program, but small changes can help to make an environment more civil.

How to Do It
Set an example by being respectful to others and being polite and civil to coworkers to the best of your ability. Address instances of disrespect rather than ignoring them. Help coworkers to realize that some behaviour is unacceptable at work in an attempt to eliminate bad behaviour.
You can do this by talking about the incident, going to your supervisor, registering a complaint or going to your team about the issue, but be careful: you don’t want to get into the vicious cycle of “talking behind one’s back”, which only leads to defensive, angry behaviour. Be sure to follow the age-old rule of treating others the way you’d like to be treated, even if they were nasty to you.

Valuing diversity
Diversity is what makes our interactions with each other interesting and new. Everyone comes from a different background that can add colour to any interaction. Appreciating diversity in your workplace may not be a priority to many of your team members. However, it is a very important part of integrating various members of your team that may feel segregated due to their religious beliefs, skin colour or sexual orientation.

How to Do It
Encourage your supervisor to implement some kind of cultural training in your workplace. This could be beneficial to everyone involved, and can help everyone to understand differences in your team members. Education about diversity is important in creating a work space that strives to understand rather than ignore differences between team members. Also remember that there are resources available internally in most organizations, as well as externally for dealing with more serious issues such as discriminatory behaviour, violence, bullying and harassment.

In addition, you can do your part by having casual conversations with your coworkers and learning more about them (be careful not to pry!). Be respectful, and if you find out more about a certain religion or holiday that is not celebrated in your common culture, see if it would be appropriate to integrate these new events into office celebrations or parties. These in themselves can help to educate your work group about the diversity that they may have not known exists within your team!

Ensuring equality
Working in an environment that operates on favouritism can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness. No matter how hard you work, working with people that choose favourites can automatically make it seem as though nothing you do will make you stand out, and that your work will never be acknowledged.

How to Do It
To ensure equality in the workplace, transparency about promotions, benefits and perks of the position is a must. Making sure each person on the team is fully aware of what is available reduces the chance that all of the benefits are reserved for a small group of favourites.

As well, encouraging workshops on clear promotions procedures would be a useful thing to ensure equity is being carried through. If everyone works together to determine the proper the procedure of promotion, it is less likely that unfair promotions will occur. Insisting on clear, public procedures should help to reduce any miscommunications that are likely to occur regarding equality.


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