Racism is still a huge problem in UK’s workplaces, report finds

A shocking report has found that the majority of ethnic minority workers have experienced racial harassment at work in the last five years. The same workers have been subjected to unfair treatment by their employer because of their race.

October 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Race Relations Amendment Act 1968 which outlawed, among other things, racial discrimination in employment – yet racism remains a widespread and endemic feature of everyday working life in Britain.

While there is evidence relating to racial inequalities in employment, income, promotion and training, discussion relating to the role played in these outcomes by workplace racism remains fairly muted.

To address this, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) commissioned the Racism at Work survey. Stephen Ashe from The University of Manchester surveyed over 5000 people, who answered questions relating to various aspects of their everyday working lives.

The responses were shocking, with over 70% of ethnic minority workers saying that they have experienced racial harassment at work in the last five years, and around 60% saying that they have been subjected to unfair treatment by their employer because of their race. Almost half reported that racism had negatively impacted on their ability to do their job, and almost half have been subject to ‘verbal abuse and racist jokes’.

Many of the forms of workplace racism highlighted in this report are in fact hate crimes. This included over one in ten ethnic minority respondents and 6% of non-British white participants reporting that they had experienced racist violence at work. Also:

– A third reported that they had been bullied and/or subjected to insensitive questioning

– Almost 15% of women and 8% of men stated that racial discrimination had caused them to leave their job

– 28% of participants who reported experiencing racism at work reported having to take a period of sick leave

– Part time or non-permanent employees were more likely to report racial harassment and discrimination

Over 40% of those who reported a racist incident said they were either ignored, or that they had subsequently been identified as a ‘trouble maker’. Moreover, more than one-in-ten respondents raising a complaint said that they were subsequently disciplined or forced out of their job as a result of doing so.

Report by University of Manchester.

TNT Lifestyle

Photo Credit: LBJ Library

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