The Cost Savings of Walking the Equal Opportunity Leadership Talk in Business and at Work


One of the top news stories recently was the stridently public message sent by the leader of the Air Force Academy to the entire student body, faculty, staff and the American public (via Air Force Academy Leader Lt. Jay Silveria’s direction as he spoke, encouraging the Air Force Academy’s internal stakeholders to take out their phones and video Silveria as he spoke to them), in response to “Go Home” racial slurs written on 5 black cadets’ dorm room doors. “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out,” he said.

Regardless of your personal beliefs and opinions, the business facts are crystal-clear: such conduct as described above by any student or employee are violations of Title VI and Title VII respectively of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations; and in this case, U.S. military as well as the Colorado state Division of Civil Rights Rules and Regulations. Here in the great state of New York, employers must comply with New York state Division of Human Rights regulations.

Failure of the employer (or in this case, the school) to effectively intervene on the conduct above frequently results in hefty penalties, legal fees and lawsuit / settlement financial demands.

In 2016 alone, the EEOC secured $482 million for victims of workplace discrimination from their employers.

Critical to discrimination complaint cost-savings success (e.g., by discrimination prevention and intervention) is the strident and consistent vocal and visible leadership as exemplified by the leader of the Air Force Academy, not dissimilar to my recent experience with a CEO client standing up after a company harassment prevention training, sharing how 2 discrimination complaints cost the organization thousands of dollars in penalties and fees that could have been better spent on employee wages had the harassment not occurred.

How do you protect your organization, financially and otherwise, from the costs of discrimination on multiple levels in business and at work?

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