The influx of immigration of many different cultures into the United States is a fact of life. Unfortunately, this reality continues to facilitate an influx of hate crimes. However, there are ways to fight against this needless trend, fueled by ignorance and intolerance. First, ask where do we, as Americans, spend most our time? In the workplace. How about we start there?
Rise in Hate Crimes
According to recent FBI reports, hate crimes have continued to rise over the last few years. Hate crimes are defined as traditional crimes (i.e. murder, arson, or vandalism) that are fueled by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity (LGBTQ). In 2016, law enforcement agencies reported 6,121 hate crimes. The FBI’s report is based upon crime statistics from thousands of police departments reporting hate crimes.
However, the actual number of hate crimes is often debated. Why? Like sexual harassment, most hate crimes go unreported.
To control the growing incidents of hate-inspired crime, all Americans must take a step back, away from our personal prejudices, casual biases and preconceived notions. Since most of our time is spent at work, the logical place to start is in the workplace.
What Employers Can Do
As employers we have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for all. It is important to be aware of both outside and inside hate- inspired threats/crimes.
There is nothing more frightening than the unknown threat. If your organization is associated with a specific religion or culture, the likelihood of a hate-related incident from an outside group is increased exponentially.
Protect the organization and all employees by being prepared for the worse with sound security measures:
- Conduct physical and vulnerability assessments
- Control the physical property with proper access control and security cameras
- When handling mail, train employees to detect suspicious packages
- Establish security-related policies and procedures to ensure everyone is vigilant for possible threats to the organization and knows what to do if incidents happen
But not all hate-inspired threats are from unknown parties. Hate crimes often start from a one-on-one bias. That’s why it is important for the organization to establish tolerance and sensitivity for all members, no matter the race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity of everyone.
Teach Tolerance & Sensitivity
Sometimes the work environment is the only interaction someone has with another person’s differences. Organizations must establish cultures that set aside personal prejudices, casual biases and preconceived notions. Why? Because when hate related bias is present within an organization, the wellbeing of those targeted are not the only victims.
Bias in the workplace adversely impacts the overall culture of the organization. When the work culture is impacted, a toxic environment is a likely outcome. Make no mistake, when the environment becomes toxic, the personal wellbeing of employees and the bottom line of the organization is negatively impacted.
Unfortunately, I believe we will continue to see an increase of hate crimes in the future for many years. It will take an entire generation or two for many Americans to adjust and learn to respect differences without preconceived negative thoughts. When looking at our society, practicing tolerance in the workplace puts the employer in a key position to impact the growing trend of hate related crimes in America. We must start somewhere, and the logical place is where we spend most of our time – at work.
Understand and Embrace the Differences in Others
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can help your organization ensure the safety of your employees and guide your staff to step back from preconceived notions. Contact us or call 330-255-1101 to schedule your Physical Security/Vulnerability Assessment and/or Tolerance and Sensitivity Training today.