A new survey has reported that over half of employees in the UK have witnessed racism in their workplace. Even more shockingly, only 33% of employees spoke up and reported the incident to their employer.
Over 1,400 employees took part in the survey conducted by Pearn Kandola, and it showed that only 20% had spoken to their HR department about the incident. Another shocking statistic revealed by the business psychologists is that just under a fifth of employers spoke to their employee who received the racial abuse.
In terms of demographics, black people (69%) are more likely to receive racist behaviour at work than Asian people (53%) or white people (45%).
Around 23% said they didn’t know who the appropriate person was to report an incident too. This shows that there seems to be a lot of confusion of who employees should speak to if they have witnessed racist behaviour. Also, 40% of employees who had witness and reported an incident relating to racism said were worried about the consequences of speaking up.
Senior partner at Pearn Kandola, Professor Binna Kandola, stated: “I’m astounded that the rates of witnessed racism in the modern workplace are still so staggeringly high. The question is, what are we doing about it?”
The results from the survey above shows that more needs to be done to encourage individuals to act upon and report any incidents to HR or their employer. Racism shouldn’t be tolerated in any workplace and employees need to be made aware of this.
A reasoning as to why employees don’t speak up and raise their concerns with their employers could be to do with the lack of trust. Employers should reassure their employees they are supportive of them and will always be there to listen to anything they wish to share. Employees must be able to challenge racist behaviour at work in a safe and comfortable behaviour.
Its concerning that employees are scared to report an incident because of the consequences they may face. Employers need to create an open workplace that provides protection to employees who feel as if they have witnessed unacceptable behaviour.
Organisations should look at investing in training for their line managers. The training provided will help managers understand their employees and what to do if a situation arises when an employee reports an incident involving racist behaviour.
To ensure organisations act in accordance to the law, equality must be promoted and discrimination should be prevented in the workplace. A policy should be created to ensure employees know what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. Employers should make their employees aware of how their concerns and complaints will be handled.
If you need any support or guidance in preventing racism in the workplace, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932