It is a fact that many organizations in North America now have a workforce that comprises of different ethnic backgrounds, different religions, people with disabilities and the LGBT group.

To avoid misunderstanding and cultural clashes in the workplace, diversity and cultural sensitivity training are a must. And this should be done on a regular basis. Apparently for many companies such training becomes a necessity only after a sexual harassment or a discrimination lawsuit.

Often they are a reaction rather than a standing policy of diversity and acceptance in the workplace. As many large companies have found out the hard way when they paid out millions of dollars in lawsuits. Here are just a few of the headlines:

  • Judge sinks class in Wal-Mart gender bias suit“, Anne Youderian, Courthouse News Service, 5 Aug 2013
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Of Mobile to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suit (USA Employement Equal Employment Opportunity 4-12-16)
  • Denny’s Restaurants to Pay $54 Million in Race Bias Suits by Stephen Labton Published: May 25, 1994

And this can be very costly, detrimental, and backward ways to conduct business, especially when the leaders know their workforce is diverse.

And for some organizations, this will only become even more prominent in the coming years. For example, in Canada it is expected that by 2031, 33 percent of the vacant positions will have to be filled by new immigrants because Canadians are not having many children and the baby boomers are beginning to retire.

Smart managers and leaders understand the value of honest discussion, training and education as part of a corporate policy. And this policy should be highlighted and understood by all employees.