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Have you ever questioned the fairness of your management practices? An obvious gauge of how you’re doing is your relationship with your staff and how often you’re the subject of HR interventions. But some bosses get away with unfairness without a word, often because employees are intimidated or fear for their jobs. For all those in a managerial role, here are some unfair practices that you need to identify and cease (listed in order of severity).


Illegal practices


That’s right, illegal practices – because discrimination, harassment and the denial of employees’ rights are against workplace fairness and equity legislation.


Have you ever limited, segregated, classified or deprived staff of opportunities “based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction”? Have you been directing any intentionally offensive and improper conduct toward an employee? Have you withheld from your workers any of their legal entitlements including a fair wage and public holiday pay?


If you’ve engaged in any of these unfair practices, you may have broken the law. You’ll be required to give an account when one of your employees takes union or legal action.


Unprofessional practices


A tier below criminally unfair managerial behaviours are those that are unprofessional and inappropriate. Managers can be unfair in the way that they display nepotism or favouritism. Getting along with some staff better than others is only natural, but a line is crossed when managers recruit, promote or give preference to less qualified employees based on the fact that they are related, have a personal friendship or share a common affinity.


Other inappropriate practices include taking credit for an employee’s work, unjustified exclusion from important projects or meetings, and denying well-deserved promotions or raises without explanation. Managers can also demoralize employees by publicly shaming or teasing them. All of these damaging behaviours can lead to staff lodging grievances to your organization.


Unhelpful practices


The third category of unfair behaviours includes those that are simply unhelpful and unpleasant. Each person has different personality traits and cultural influences, as well as insecurities, sensitivities and varying levels of social/emotional intelligence. People can rub each other the wrong way and have different ideas of what behaviour is acceptable in the workplace.


A manager can think that it’s okay, even motivating, to treat employees with excessive criticism, sarcasm, ostracism or (subtle) aggression. Other managers can unintentionally exhibit hostility or unreasonableness under the pressure of job stress or dramas in their personal life, though this isn’t an excuse. If you’ve knowingly or unknowingly treated your employees to these kinds of behaviours, cut it out, up your professional game and resolve to be a fairer manager.


J. Paik | Contributing Writer

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