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What to do if you experience racism in the workplace

No one should ever have to feel that they are being treated less favourably to other people in their workplace simply because of their race.

Let’s take a look at the steps you should take if you do happen to experience racism in your place of work.

Know That You are Protected

No matter what, you are protected by law from racism in the workplace. The Equality Act of 2010 protects employees from a host of different discriminatory acts. One of these is acts of racism. If you are subject to a discriminatory act, you need to speak out against it.

Racial discrimination can target you whether you are part of a minority racial group or someone close to you is, such as a partner. You must know what would qualify as a racist act in these circumstances.

What Could Count as a Racist Act?

Racial discrimination includes derogatory comments or actions made against someone due to their colour, nationality or citizenship, or ethnic or national origins. It can be both direct and indirect and can take the form of verbal or physical abuse, harassment, or victimisation. Racial discrimination can also come from a place of ignorance, with the instigator unaware that their words or actions are indeed racist. In the case of the latter, this is still unacceptable, and you are well within your rights to pursue a claim.

Direct racism is when you are treated poorly simply because of your race, when you know that someone else in your circumstances would be treated better. For example, you might get turned down for a position because you “would not fit in with the rest of the staff”. This also extends to members of your family. For example, if you were turned away for a role because your partner is of another nationality, that would be a direct act of racial discrimination.

Indirect racial discrimination usually takes the form of off-hand comments or the insistence on certain professional rules that puts some candidates at a disadvantage. For example, any uniform that bans headscarves could be seen as having a policy that promotes indirect racial discrimination.

What to Do When You Experience Racism

When you experience racism in your workplace, the first thing you should always do is reach out to your employer or supervisor and let them know what has happened informally. The aim is always to put something in place to address the concerns you have.  If this is not successful, then the next stage would be to raise a formal written grievance with the relevant authority within the organisation.  Remember as soon as you have raised a concern around racism you are protected from dismissal by the employer if it is linked to the raising of the grievance.

If you are unsatisfied with the actions your employer chooses to take, you may choose to reach out to a solicitor to raise a claim on your behalf. A solicitor will help you with your claim and advise you on what evidence you will need to collect support it. You could receive compensation and justice by doing so, and there is also a chance to bring publicity to the case if you wish so.

If you think have been subjected to racial discrimination in the workplace, reach out to MM Legal today. We are a professional team of solicitors who have handled many cases, including those of racial discrimination, and we will help you fight for justice.