University of Manchester report finds the majority of ethnic minority workers have experienced racism in the workplace

  • 70% of respondants to a UoM survey reported racial harassment at work
  • 15% of women have left jobs as a result of racist discrimination
  • The report's author blames a lax approach from the Government

A UoM report has found the majority of ethnic minority workers have experienced racial harassment at work in the last five years, and have been subjected to unfair treatment by their employer because of their race.

October 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of Race Relations Amendment Act 1968 which outlawed, among other things, racial discrimination in employment – yet racism remains a widespread and endemic feature of everyday working life in Britain. 

Stephen Ashe from The University of Manchester surveyed over 5000 people, who answered questions relating to various aspects of their everyday working lives. 70% said they had experienced racial harasment and about 60% said they had received unfair treatment from their bosses due to their race.

Almost half reported racism had negatively impacted on their ability to do their job, and almost half have been subject to ‘verbal abuse and racist jokes’. 

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Almost 15% of women and 8% of men said racial discrimination had caused them to leave their job. The report found part time or non-permanent employees were more likely to report racial harassment and discrimination.

Over 40% of those who reported a racist incident said they were either ignored, or that they had subsequently been identified as a ‘trouble maker’. Moreover, more than one-in-ten respondents raising a complaint said they were subsequently disciplined or forced out of their job as a result of doing so. 

“I’ve had three workplaces where I’ve had to bring grievances that were race related,” said one survey respondent. “I ended up on anti-depressants and suicidal – It makes you forget who you are, your strengths, your abilities. I’m a skilled intelligent woman who’s worked for 35 years, and I ended up barely able to send an email. I’m having to leave my job and take a wage reduction for a short-term post instead of my permanent one – it’s either that or my life.”

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The report found many White British people believe globalisation, neoliberalism and austerity have had a detrimental impact on the ‘White working class’. As a result, a number of participants expressed opposition to attempts to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, while also opposing ‘positive discrimination’ and ‘political correctness’. 

“Racism remains a widespread and endemic feature of everyday working life in Britain, fifty years after the introduction of the Race Relations Amendment Act,” said report co-author Stephen Ashe. “The time has come to abandon the laissez-faire approach adopted by the current Government and its predecessors – workplace racism and racial inequality in the labour market will persist as long as successive governments continue to abide by voluntary, non-interventionist, non-regulatory orthodoxy.”