The stats are jarring, disturbing, and scary. During the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been nearly 3,800 reported anti-Asian hate incidents, including shunning, slurs, and physical attacks. That number represents a stunning 46 percent increase over the prior year, and still just a small percentage of the actual number that has occurred. These incidents culminated last week in Robert Aaron Long shooting and killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlor.
Your AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) employees are hurting. Here are some thoughts on how we, as their employers, can best support them.
1/ Make sure your anti-harassment and discrimination policies are updated to include AAPI employees. It's also a good time to do some anti-harassment, respectful workplace/anti-bullying, and bystander training. Everyone needs to understand that mistreatment of AAPI employees, and retaliation against those that report it or otherwise support their AAPI coworkers, will not be tolerated, period.
2/ Remind impacted employees of your EAP or other mental health services provided by your health insurance that are available to them.
3/ Remember that your AAPI employees might also be impacted outside of work. If an AAPI employee's performance starts to offer, their attendance is suffering, or they otherwise seem off, consider that there might be an issue impacting them outside of work. Now might be the time for a discussion, not discipline.