Following the abhorrent death of George Floyd employers will rightly be looking at the ways in which they can ensure their commitment to racial equality in the workplace. There are many things that employers can do to help make workplaces fairer and thereby help to create a society where racism is not tolerated.
As a specialist employment law practice we are aware from employment cases that sadly many workers in the UK still face unfair treatment at work due to their race, colour, national or ethnic origin or their religious beliefs.
Some of the racial treatment that employees experience in the workplace is extreme but other times the cumulative impact of subtle, and sometimes unconscious, behaviour can lead to unacceptable discrimination in the workplace. Employers should never allow this to become the accepted normal and should strive to improve workplace practices and behaviour.
We would urge employers to take the opportunity to look at their employment practices and to identify practical things they can do to help make things better and to build a fairer workplace for all employees irrespective of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin or their religious beliefs.
As a first step look at your Equal Opportunities Policy and make sure that it is fit for purpose and that your employees are both aware of it and adhere to the principles of equality and diversity in the workplace. Consider also equality and diversity training where you feel there is a need for better understanding.
The following sites offer helpful guidance and information on equality in the workplace:
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission
- UK Government’s Race Disparity Audit
- Business in the Community: The Race at Work Charter
Sunley Solicitors Limited
5th June 2020