The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt in workplaces and homes across the world. Although the headlines indicate that we are one people, people’s actions during the pandemic show that we are not sailing in the same boat. Black and brown workers are suffering unequally during the pandemic. It seems that there is inequitable access to healthcare based on color.
According to reputable sources, the number of black front-line healthcare workers is not equal to brown workers. This exposes a particular race to the lethal virus more than the others. The pandemic has unearthed the existing reality of occupation segmentation, as specific demographic segments are more protected than others.
So, while employees are grieving due to the devastating impact of the pandemic, disparities make the pain more intense to minority workers. Therefore, employers must support employees of color during challenging times. Here are ways how employers can protect employees of color during the pandemic.
Encourage and Create room for employees to care for each other
During the current crisis, numerous people are suffering from psychological trauma. In fact, the number of people suffering from trauma exceeds that of those experiencing physical injuries. Employees may shy away from asking for some time off to focus on their wellbeing since employment is becoming unpredictable. Leaders should consider giving their workers explicit permission to spend time with their loved ones and care for themselves.
Discourage xenophobic, biased, and racist behaviors
This is the high time to discourage biased and racist behavior in team settings. With the heightened anxiety and fear, leaders may come around “serious jokes “concerning the outbreak of coronavirus in the workplace. Recently, we heard of a virtual gathering that was discussing how personal protective equipment from china could likely be infected from the “Chinese virus.” When such comments become normalized and permissible in the workplace, minority workers might suffer in silence.
Come up with intentional spaces to reveal the sentiments, experiences, and needs of employees of color
Leaders should allow employees of color to share their experiences and that their families during the pandemic. Such forums encourage other employees to interact and care for their Asian colleagues. Additionally, through such forums, employees can learn about the history of bias and call out racism in others.