Diversity Statement for Your Organization

Are you struggling with how to bring diversity to your organization, or write a Diversity Statement for your organization?

Diversity Statements for Businesses and Organizations

Diversity is all about the unique ways we differ as people, and the value those differences bring to our workplace and our organization. Some of our differences are physical, such as nationality, gender, race and age. But we also share less visible differences such as culture, personal values, and religious beliefs. Valuing diversity means appreciating our individualism and behaving in such a way that we also respect each other’s differences.

Diversity statements not only define your business or organization, but also act as a welcome mat for employees, participants, students, and others who want to use or otherwise engage with your organization.  In today’s working and political environment, a diversity statement defines who and what you are, and also defines whether or not an individual views you as a good environment in which this individual can thrive. 

A diverse organization can be one of our greatest assets. Beyond recruitment and hiring, we must focus on retention and motivation of the diverse workforce we worked so hard to include. For minority members, the missing piece is often a strong sense of self and an appreciation for who they are and what they offer. An inclusive diversity statement can define your business or organization, and can provide an invitation to join.

Employment and Diversity

In order to achieve the goal of a diverse organization of employees, members, and participants, the following criteria need to be part of your recruitment process.  Utilizing these criteria will help your organization reflect the community you serve.

A)  Confidentiality must be observed.  Conflicts of interest must be disclosed.

B)  Objectivity includes being aware of conflicts of interest, being aware of our prejudices and personal preferences, and making decisions based on the same criteria for everyone. 

C)  Discrimination includes an understanding and appreciation of diverse peoples, cultures, and perspectives that informs the intellectual framework on which your organizational mission is based.  This category is important especially for making choices to insure that everyone who applies for a job or other involvement with your organization will be evaluated on their merits and not on unstated criteria (personal prejudices and preferences) that may disqualify them during the stages of screening candidates. 

The policies and practices at the organizational level, and values and behaviors at the individual level, enable effective cross-cultural interactions among participants, employees, and community.  Your organizational representative should use non-biased language and avoid generalizations that refer to gender, race, ethnicity or other stereotypical groups. 

Two Specific Categories of Liability:  ADEA and ADA

Violation of each of these categories constitutes discrimination, either by age or by disability. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, ADEA, is a US labor law that forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States.  Be sure to educate your employees, members, and executives to be aware of the ADEA in advertising, screening, and employment.  Avoid phrases such as “a recent graduate”, or any phrase that refers to age.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all employment practices. It is necessary to understand important ADA definitions to know whom the law protects and what constitutes illegal discrimination.  These definitions include:

An individual with a disability.

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability who may need a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential required duties.

An individual with a disability under the ADA is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. Major life activities are activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty such as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, and working.

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