Home > Discrimination At Work > Dealing with Racism at Work

Dealing with Racism at Work

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 6 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Racism Racial Discrimination Ethnic Race

It is illegal to discriminate against anyone of the grounds of their race. This includes their colour, nationality or ethnic origin. Unfortunately, it still happens but you need to stand up for your rights and not let any employer get away with it. There are different types of discrimination but they are all wrong and all punishable by law.

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination is when an employer blatantly treats people differently because of their race. This can include advertising jobs that are only for people of a certain race or paying one race more than others for doing the same job. This is not allowed and needs to be stopped as soon as it becomes an issue.

Indirect Discrimination

This type of discrimination is not quite so blunt but it includes rules or practices that put you at a disadvantage in the workplace because of your race. So it may be that your employer institutes a new dress code, for no particular reason such as health and safety, which discriminates against people from certain ethnic backgrounds. They may try to talk their way out of it and say it isn’t racist but if it puts you at a disadvantage because of your ethnicity, then it is.

Harassment

Often, there is no one incident that stands out as being racist but the way that you are treated by your boss or colleagues is unfair. This can be in the form of racist jokes or underhand jibes, or being given the menial jobs to do when you are more qualified. Even if your boss doesn’t join in, if they overlook the behaviour then they are just as guilty. If you make a complaint about the way you are being treated and it only makes it worse then you are being victimised and you need to seek further help.

Positive Action

There are some instances when people are targeted for jobs on the grounds of their race and when this seen as acceptable. These cases are when a particular racial group is severely under-represented in a certain career field or role. Then employers can provide special training and encourage people from particular ethnic groups to apply for certain roles.

Getting Help

If you feel that you are being discriminated against at work, or when seeking employment then you have every right to take action against it. Racial discrimination is illegal and you shouldn’t stand for it. Start by approaching your boss about the subject with clear examples of what has happened and ask to see their equal opportunities policy. If they are unhelpful, or the cause of the problem, then you will need to seek help elsewhere. Talk to your trade union if you have one or go to your local racial equality council who can help you take the case to an employment tribunal.

Racism in the workplace is illegal and should not be tolerated. Whether it is direct, such as advertising a job for a certain race, indirect by implementing rules that out you at a disadvantage, or in the form of harassment – speak out. Approach your boss about the problem. If they are unhelpful or victimise you for raising the issue then consider taking them to an employment tribunal.

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[Add a Comment]
@Indiana - I am sorry to hear this. As specified in the article, if you feel that you are being discriminated against at work, or when seeking employment then you have every right to take action against it. Racial discrimination is illegal and you shouldn’t stand for it. Start by approaching your boss about the subject with clear examples of what has happened and ask to see their equal opportunities policy. If they are unhelpful, or the cause of the problem, then you will need to seek help elsewhere. Talk to your trade union if you have one or go to your local racial equality council who can help you take the case to an employment tribunal. I have included an additional Work Smart article here which should help you further.
WelfareAtWork - 13-Apr-15 @ 9:38 AM
I have been bullied by my General Manager, his relatives working in my office. Others come late is okay but he ensures people clock my coming in. Others can have coffee but they hid it away from me. There are more bullying and diacrimination issues. Recently when they had an inquiry the Director put it that her employee has issues with one person, in a bracket she wrote my race. The GM said that the client personnel of my race is lazy. He called a client Manager of my race stupid. He called our client HR stupid. no wonder he makes use of me to do decision making, emails, policies and procedures, etc but i am never promoted The entire management and his supervisors regard my race as untrustworthy. I am sick of this. I dont want to complain but have been suffering being bullied for 10 years now. I need another job.
Indiana - 9-Apr-15 @ 2:56 AM
@Taz - you probably need to speak to Acas in order to get some direct advice on the right way forward, especially if there is nothing being done after raising your grievance. You access the Acas helpline via the link here. I hope this helps.
WelfareAtWork - 4-Mar-15 @ 9:53 AM
i have been subject to harassment and bullying subject to my ethnicity and have witness statement of instances. need to speak for some advice as have put grievence and nothing has been done about it
Taz - 1-Mar-15 @ 3:56 PM
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