Employment tribunals in the UK saw a 48% rise in the number of race discrimination claims in 2020, according to statistics from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. It has been illegal to discriminate against anyone because of their race or ethnic group for many years. Here we look at the importance of your Race Discrimination Policy and the wider approach to preventing Race Discrimination in the workplace.
Evidence suggests Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers still face barriers in their professional careers that non-BAME workers do not. The good news is that 80% of managers have agreed that large organisations should be required to report their ethnicity pay gap, according to the Chartered Management Institute’s Delivering Diversity report.
The issue has been flagged with Parliament and companies could be ordered to disclose any pay gap between white employees and their minority ethnic colleagues under reforms supported by Boris Johnson’s race equality advisers. Currently, ethnicity pay gap reporting is voluntary, unlike gender pay gap reporting which is compulsory for certain organisations in the UK.
What is Race Discrimination
Under the Equality Act 2010, every single employee, job seeker and trainee has the right to not be discriminated against on the grounds of any of their protected characteristics. Race discrimination can be direct, such as racist abuse or unfavourable treatment because of race, or indirect, whereby rules, policies or practices place employees of a particular racial, ethnic group or national group at a disadvantage.
How HR can stop Race Discrimination
HR should support to create an open, equal and diverse culture within which ensures all employees are aware of race discrimination issues. Key practices to support this should be:
- Review HR Policies and Practices – make sure policies are not discriminatory, particularly ones covering recruitment and selection, pay and benefits, performance review and appraisals and workplace dress code.
- Discrimination Policies – To set the business no tolerance stance surrounding race discrimination, it is important to have a clear Race Discrimination Policy. Within your Race Discrimination Policy, you should set out the business position on discriminatory behaviour, as well as clearly outline expectations of employee behaviour.
- HR Supporting Line Managers and Employees – HR should work with the business to ensure all employees understand what discrimination is, as a lack of understanding often is the cause for unacceptable offenses. HR need to support the business to recognise race discrimination, develop the skills to stop behaviour quickly and ensure all colleagues are aware of the HR support available for handling race discrimination.
When it comes to Recruitment, there are some fundamental steps HR can take to develop an inclusive recruitment drive, including:
- Write inclusive job descriptions
- Widen your search to develop new talent pools
- Make it easy for a diverse range of applicants to apply
- Set the right tone and ask the right questions in an interview
- Keep your eye on gender pay gaps – it still matters!
Why HR should take note
According to the CMI, there are several business benefits to having true equality in the workplace, including:
- It boosts financial performance
- It increases the ability to attract and retain talent
- It enhances employee engagement, culture and trust
- It brings firms closer to customers and boosts brand
- It drives better, innovative team decisions, raises ethics and reduces risk
Evidence shows that businesses that are truly inclusive are more likely to attract better talent and be more financially successful. As we emerge from the pandemic, they have a great opportunity to build on their diversity and inclusivity programmes.