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What happens if you’ve hired a racist? Is there a place for them in our payroll?

If you discover that one of your employees is racist — and actively engaged in promoting white supremacy — what should you do?

Cristina Lara, Contributor for the Huffington Post, Gender strategist and diversity professional discussed this issue in her article for HP using the following case on Google as an example:

Google recently fired James Damore shortly after he spent his working hours producing a 10 page anti-diversity manifesto in which he speculated that his women colleagues were biologically inferior to men. After the manifesto went viral, Google’s head of diversity Danielle Brown issued a statement acknowledging the manifesto, disputing its accuracy, and reaffirming Google’s commitment to diversity. Google CEO Sundar Pichai went out of his way to remind young girls in tech, “You belong in this industry. We need you.” And lastly, Damore was the unfortunate recipient of the dreaded pink slip, namely for violating Google’s code of conduct.

Google did the right thing by sending a powerful message about their firm commitment to diversity and rejecting harmful gender stereotypes. Research shows time and time again that diversity isn’t just a nice-to-have, but a strategic imperative. McKinsey research revealed that 35 percent of ethnically diverse companies outperform their competitors, and diversity in the boardroom generates better and more profitable, productive ideas. However, there might be some white supremacists among our workplaces.

So, what should you do if you have hired a racist?

Acknowledge it in a powerful to email your workforce saying that somewhere in the hiring process, you miscalculated a person’s cultural fit for your business. If one of your employees marched alongside the KKK, let your workforce know. They probably already know, and your silence would simply ring volumes.

Revisit your code of conduct and ensure it includes strong pro-diversity language.  Morally correct, diversity also brings a fantastic competitive advantage. Any employee caught to have violated your code of conduct has proven themselves unfit and unwilling to live up to the values upon which you want your business to be run.

Resource your employee resource groups. ERGs are a great way for women, minorities, and allies to build community and proactively respond to current events. Fund them and empower them to make a big impact on your workplace.

Assess job candidates for their “cultural fit.” Consider asking job candidates “What have you done to promote diversity and inclusion in your previous workplace?” This is a great way to weed out anyone with racist tendencies.

Fire any employee who acts on their racial animus. If your employee marched with the KKK that could warrant their immediate dismissal from your workplace. Check with an employment attorney to see if you have grounds for firing, especially if they’ve violated your code of conduct or contributed to fostering a hostile work environment.

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