What Should You Do If You Encounter Racism In The Workplace? Dealing With Racism In The Workplace
Nobody should be experiencing
racism or discrimination, whether this is inside or outside the workplace. It’s 2020 and it certainly has no welcome place in society. Unfortunately many people still experience prejudice due to the colour of their skin or their beliefs. Everyone from CEO’s down to interns may experience some form of racism in the workplace. In the past a number of high profile sport stars and celebrities have opened up about their experiences with racism.
In the wake of the murder of
George Floyd at the hands of American police, we have seen global ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests. Again, racism and inequality in America caused the global community to focus on the issues present within their own country. In the UK we’ve seen widespread BLM protests. In some instances, protesters have taken matters into their own hands, like in Bristol where protestors tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it into the sea. We’ve also seen famous faces lending their voices and platform to the protests including actors, athletes and more.
Globally we need to do more to fight racism and inequality of all kinds. Unfortunately, we can’t control what happens overseas and we can’t really control what happens in our own country. However, we can set examples in our homes and our workplaces to address racial inequality.
A Widespread, National Issue
Raheem Sterling and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang have both been involved in high profile incidents on the pitch. These incidents followed the release of figures showing that incidents reported to anti-discrimination body Kick It Out had increased for at least the fifth year in a row at that time.
Statistics for the 2017-18 season showed racist incidents increased 22% across all levels of football. So is this the same for workplaces as well?
At the time, studies showed a huge racial bias in Britain and British recruitment. A study conducted by The Guardian has revealed that
young black men are changing their names in order to help with their job search. Some instances have actually seen there application progress once they’ve changed their name. What Can You Do To Remove Racism From The Workplace?
So what should you do if you experience racism in the workplace? Liam Grime,
Employment Law Consultant at ELAS, discusses what employees and employers should do if they experience racism in their company. “Racism, unfortunately, occurs in life whether that be in our personal or professional lives. With regards to racism in the workplace however, this occurs in different ways, whether that be the less favourable treatment of an employee on the grounds of race, which could amount to discrimination as provided by the Equality Act 2010, or whether employees are being abusive of or bullying a colleague because of their race. “Employers should be advocates of equal opportunity, equality and diversity in the workplace. They have an implied duty to take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, bullying and harassment of their employees. There are several ways in which an employer can do this. “Having clear policies on equal opportunities and equality and diversity will help send a message to employees that the derogatory treatment of employees on the grounds of their race, or any other protected characteristic, will not be tolerated and that in almost all cases where an employee is accused of such behaviour, this would amount to gross misconduct and could lead to their summary dismissal if found guilty. Employers would do well to provide training on anti-discrimination, bullying and harassment for their employees also. It is particularly important that the training helps employees to identify what constitutes racism and discrimination. This training should also cover harassment, bullying and the likely consequences. Training for managers on how to deal with such complaints would also be beneficial. Handling A Claim of Racism “If someone complains they’ve been subjected to racism, you must take the matter very seriously and deal with it correctly. Complaints of racism would likely come in the form of a formal grievance, and luckily there are set procedures provided by the ACAS Code of Practice to help employers deal with such matters. Following the ACAS Code of Practice, although it has no legal force, will help demonstrate to an employment tribunal that the employer has acted fairly in dealing with such complaints. “After you’ve received a complaint, you’ll need to arrange a hearing with your staff. They must get at least 48 hours’ notice and the can be accompanied to the hearing. At the hearing the employee explain the details of their complaint. This helps the employer conduct a thorough investigation into the described allegations. After investigating, the findings are provided in writing. This will detail the employee’s grievance and the right to appeal should they be dissatisfied with it. Should it be found that there was indeed substance to the allegations of racism, the culprit would be subjected to disciplinary action and this could lead to their summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct.”
If your company has experienced multiple examples of racist behaviour, you may wish to educate your entire staff or essential team leaders with a
training class. These classes enable staff to recognise the behavioural traits of racist individuals before they impact an employee or colleague. Equality and Diversity
Given the current global focus on issues of equality and diversity, it’s no longer acceptable to be exclusionary . So you must ensure everyone in your business knows about role they play. This is especially important when promoting equality and diversity within the workplace.
Equality and Diversity training course has been designed with the Equality Act 2010 in mind and aims to promote positive equality and diversity practices and procedures that can be implemented into any business. This course is for managers and staff supervisors to help promote equality in their workplace. However, it’s also relevant for anyone who has shown an interest in promoting equality and diversity within your business. Should you need any help or support addressing racism in your workplace, call our team today on 08450 50 40 60 or complete the contact form and we’ll be in touch soon!