Dealing with human resources issues of discrimination requires a combination of proactive and reactive measures. Proactive measures include demonstrating good faith efforts to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment and embracing HR best practices for addressing discrimination. Discrimination is an inevitable and unfortunate consequence, given the level of diversity, varied work styles, generations and personalities in the workforce. However, employers develop ways to deal with HR issues of discrimination through creating basic workplace principles based on mutual respect and adherence to laws that prohibit discrimination.

Provide mandatory training for staff and leadership. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advocates employee training as an effective method to prevent workplace discrimination. The EEOC Web page on harassment states: "Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment." Training should include information on federal and state employment laws and fair employment practices the company uses in recruitment, selection, professional development and retention. In addition, training on how to recognize harassment gives employees the information necessary to determine when they or co-workers might be subjected to harassment and how to report harassment in its early stages so the company can immediately address it.

Publish the company's statement on equal employment opportunity in the employee handbook and distribute an updated version of the handbook. Require employees to sign an acknowledgment form indicating they have read the handbook and agree to the company's workplace policies. Post copies of the company's EEO policy in common areas, such as the employee cafeteria or break room, as well as in the HR lobby or reception area so applicants are aware that the company values EEO.

Establish an HR process for receiving employee complaints including concerns about workplace discrimination. Many organizations' HR departments include an employee relations specialist trained to investigative HR issues concerning discrimination. Designate an employee relations specialist or a member of HR or general management to receive and investigate workplace issues. In addition, consider engaging the services of a company that provides an anonymous hotline for employees to report suspected discrimination they might not want to report in a face-to-face meeting with their supervisors or the HR department.

Create standard operating procedures for investigating and resolving workplace discrimination. Include an investigative plan for interviewing witnesses, taking recorded statements, and reviewing employment files and documentation. Also, include steps on how to determine the most appropriate corrective action for employees who violate the company's nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies.

Revise performance expectations for employees and managers. Require that employees' annual performance appraisals evaluate whether the employee has completed mandatory EEO training. Include an additional performance expectation that requires corrective action for employees who violate workplace policies related to fair treatment. If your organization is a government contractor required to have an affirmative action plan, create a performance expectation for supervisors and managers to engage in appropriate outreach in recruitment and selection.