Racism in the workplace is never ok – but with recent research suggesting that black, Asian and ethnic minority workers are a third more likely than white workers to be underemployed, it’s clear that things aren’t quite as fair as they should be in 2016.
Here are eight things you need to know about BAME rights in the workplace.
What is the law on workplace equality?
The Equality Act 2010 states that if you are treated less favourably than another employee because of your race, colour, nationality or ethnic origins, it is racial discrimination and you have grounds for a claim. This is the law, and it’s there to protect you.
What counts as ‘discrimination’?
Racial discrimination is when you are denied opportunities or treated unfairly because of your race, in relation to a colleague whose circumstances are like yours. For example, a co-worker is given a promotion ahead of you because they are of a race which your manager perceives to be more favourable than your own, despite you both being relatively similar in terms of your performance.
What about harassment?
Harassment in any form is also classed as discrimination – this includes any behaviour which could be deemed intimidating or hostile, again based on the grounds of your race.
What about if it’s not intentional?
Discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional to be real. If an employer imposes new rules or criteria which put a particular racial group at a disadvantage, it is also discrimination. For example, if a new dress code was to be introduced, or a new working schedule implemented, which made it more difficult for a particular group to work, it would be unlawful.
When am I protected by the law?
You are protected against all of these forms of discrimination at every stage of employment, right from when you are first recruited to the when you eventually leave the job.
What if it’s not me being discriminated against?
If you are being asked to discriminate against someone else based on their race, there are grounds for you to also file a claim. No one should feel pressurised or bullied at work, and no one should be made to feel like they are discriminating against colleagues.
So, what can I do if I’m being discriminated against?
Depending on who the perpetrator of the offence is, there are a number of different people you can talk to about your situation if you think you’re being discriminated against. You could speak to your employer, a trade union representative, someone from your company’s HR department, or, if none of those are viable, your local branch of Citizens’ Advice.
How can I protect myself if I’m making a claim?
Whilst you’re pursuing a claim you’re protected against victimisation from the offending party – so if this occurs also, bring it to the attention of one of the above.
Written by Lucy Miller, as featured in The National Student – http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Careers/2016-09-19/8_things_to_know_about_bame_rights_when_starting_work_.html