Shocking data | Almost half of Black people have experienced racism at work

Almost half of Black people have experienced racism at work

Whilst diversity and inclusion is a key part of HR’s remit, it appears that racism is still a vast issue within Britain’s workplaces, with almost half of Black respondents to a new survey stating that they’ve experienced it in some form at work, as reports The Independent.

The data, which was published in a report released this week by the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), in partnership with the Lloyds Banking Group, also ascertained that 26% of East Asian workers and 23% of employees of South Asian heritage have experienced similar issues – along with 24% of mixed-race workers.

And, whilst the profile of worker wellbeing has been raised by the coronavirus pandemic, the data found that 56% of those employees who reported that racism has affected them within the workplace said that it has directly negatively impacted their mental health.

In fact, 60% of professionals across all ethnicities reported that the global pandemic has had a vastly negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing, with those from a Black or a minority ethnic background stating that it has made it more likely that they would suffer from racism whilst working.

Around one in six Black and South Asian respondents noted that they had a traumatic personal or family experience because of coronavirus, compared to six per cent of their white British counterparts.

As a result, 44% of Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers have felt they must change aspects of their behaviour to fit in at the office, compared to only a quarter of white British people, the research also highlighted.

Poppy Jaman, CEO at CMHA, said: “It’s clear that when it comes to mental health and race at work, businesses can affect their employees in one of two main ways."

“They can provide an inclusive environment, that is anti-racist, creates a sense of belonging and which offers appropriate and representative mental health support to those employees who might need it, so that all of their people can thrive.

“Or, they can be a source of stress and contribute to poor mental health because of discriminatory practices and a non-inclusive culture, which is clearly unacceptable. Businesses have a responsibility and an opportunity to build not only diverse but also inclusive and mentally healthy workplaces,” Jaman added.

How can HR tackle racism at work?

For HR, tackling racism in the workplace is key.  The Equality Act 2010 says that no one should be discriminated against because of their race.

A 2020 Forbes article shared several tips for tackling racial discrimination in the workplace.

This included embedding anti-racism into your organisation's values, training and actions, spreading awareness by providing resources and educating individuals, tackling unconscious bias, among other things.

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