Employment Policies

Various policies related to hiring, firing, and management of employees can have an impact on staff retention. Again, some policies, such as a conflict resolution policy, that do not relate directly to inclusiveness can have an indirect effect on staff retention. Remember, policies are only as effective as the people who implement them. Violation of policies can result in lawsuits, so it is important not only to follow the policies created but also to train staff to comply with all personnel policies.

The following information on personnel policies is presented for illustrative purposes only. The authors make no representation as to the legal sufficiency or effect of these policies. Actual policies should be developed by legal counsel.

Equal Employment Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy

Creating an Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, or a Non-Discrimination Policy as it is often called, provides a basic foundation for creating an inclusive organization. The purpose of an EEO policy is to articulate the organization's commitment to complying with federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of a number of characteristics. In some cases, organizations also include a commitment to nondiscrimination based on other characteristics, such as sexual orientation.

Federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the following bases:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (Gender)
  • Age (40 and over)
  • National Origin
  • Disability

Various state and local laws extend employment protection on the basis of other characteristics as well, such as marital status.

Example - The Denver Foundation's Anti-Discrimination Policy: The Denver Foundation shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and provision of services.

If your organization doesn't have an EEO policy, seek appropriate legal advice regarding these matters.

Other Policies

Seek legal counsel who can help you develop other employment policies that will help you retain staff and create a more inclusive workplace The types of policies that you may want to talk to consider include:

  • Unlawful EEO Harassment Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • EEO Complaint Procedure
  • Standard of Conduct for Language
  • Family Friendly Policies (such as flex time, on-site child care, etc.)
  • Grievance Procedure Policy
  • Conflict Resolution Policy

In addition to helping an organization avoid costly lawsuits, many of these policies can provide staff members with clear guidance on how to resolve issues that may make them feel uncomfortable and may affect their productivity.

For example, the Standard of Conduct for Language policy and the Conflict Resolution Policy can lead to a more inclusive workplace where people from any background can feel secure in knowing how to address issues of concern to them. Remember that hostile language can make people from any racial/ethnic or other background uncomfortable and therefore the positive impact of such a policy - if it is followed - can resonate throughout the organization.


Overview: Personnel 

Benefits of Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Staff 

Costs of Unsuccessful Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Staff 

Setting Goals for Staff Composition 

Position Descriptions/Job Qualifications 

Announcing and Advertising Personnel Openings 

Interviewing and Selecting Candidates 

Retaining Personnel of Color 

Performance Reviews 

Professional Development 

Exit Interview Process