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Tips for avoiding discrimination and harassment in the workplace

Preventing race and color discrimination in the workplace is a requirement of employers. In any workplace, race and color can't be used to hinder or hurt an employee. Everyone has to be treated equally, no matter the color of skin or ethnic background.

Preventing race and color discrimination doesn't have to be difficult. The best ways to avoid race problems in the workplace come down to a few simple tips.

First, don't be unprofessional in a work environment. There's usually no reason to comment on someone's skin color, hair texture or other features, unless you're in a specific job where those factors matter,as in some modeling jobs. Being professional means sticking to the business of the day, not pointing out differences between employees' appearances.

If someone is being negative, harassing or discriminatory in the workplace, it's okay to stand up to it and refuse to allow the behavior. Silently watching these acts is as good as condoning them, and anyone behaving in a discriminatory manner should be reprimanded.

Because work is a professional environment, you should not be making racially insensitive jokes or be offensive about the cultures others share. If someone makes a joke at the expense of your heritage or background, that is not acceptable behavior and may be a form of harassment.

Employers need to be proactive to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. All reports of these behaviors should be taken seriously. If you report being harassed or discriminated against, your employer should not only look into the situation, but also offer a solution or remedy.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Best Practices and Tips for Employees," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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