Bizwiki Blog

The Importance of Equality in the Workplace

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity for businesses to promote more inclusive workplaces and practices. On the 21st of March employers can play an important role in eliminating racial discrimination, racism and other intolerance in society.

Racism in the UK continues to be a reality for many people. According to NatCen’s 2014 British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey, the number or people who consider themselves to be prejudiced against other races has generally been on the rise since 2001. Approximately three per cent of survey respondents described themselves as very prejudiced, while 27 per cent said they were a little prejudiced.

Racial discrimination involves the unfair treatment of others because of their race or the race of someone they are connected with, such as a parent or partner. In addition to colour, race includes citizenship or nationality and ethnic or national origin. The Equality Act 2010 outlines when discrimination based on race is against the law and provides protections against discrimination. Racial discrimination is illegal in many aspects in daily life, including in education and housing settings. Discrimination based on race is also illegal when public authorities carry out their activities and when a business provides goods and services. For example, a business cannot refuse to provide someone with goods, services or facilities based on race or provide these things on terms or conditions that are less favourable than what is provided to people of other backgrounds.

Employers are legally required to prevent discrimination because of race or any other personal characteristic, like religion, disability or age. Businesses are also not permitted to discriminate based on race with respect to employment and training. Specifically, it is illegal for any employer to discriminate based on race. Regardless of how small or large a business might be, these rules apply to all types of businesses. Employees, agency workers, trainees, self-employed and most other workers are protected from racial discrimination in the workplace. This protection covers the recruitment and selection of employees, employee training, pay and benefits, terms and conditions of work, promotions, and redundancy and dismissal.

There are some cases where racial discrimination might be permitted in the workplace. An employer can treat employees less favourably because of race if they can demonstrate that someone of a specific racial background is required to carry out a specific job. This would be considered an occupational requirement and not discrimination.

Eliminating racial discrimination in the workplace requires leadership from business owners and management. Commitment can be demonstrated in the introduction of an equity policy that governs fair and transparent hiring, promotions and treatment of staff. Fair treatment policies should be extended to how customers, clients and other stakeholders are treated. Policies should include details on recruitment and selection, determining pay, training and development, selection processes for promotion, and discipline and grievance procedures. They should also include measures to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace. Equality treatment regardless of race is just one aspect of creating an equitable workplace, which should also treat others fair regardless of religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation and age.

Action is also important, including providing training to management and staff. Training should provide information on provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and other employment laws related to discrimination. It should also provide skills for managers and other supervisors to allow them to recognise and address incidents involving racial discrimination. A variety of activities in the workplace can also encourage a more inclusive workplace, including events that showcase the culture of various nationalities and ethnic origins of staff.

There are several resources and supports to help businesses create a more inclusive workplace that is free of racism and discrimination, including the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (Acas).



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

No Comments

Leave a reply