gordons llp workplace racism

Racism In The Workplace Requires Consideration From Employers

Wednesday 28th September 2022

A survey of 1,750 black and minority ethnic (BME) workers by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that 41% of those surveyed had experienced racism at work in the last five years.


TUC has published a report which highlights the experiences of BME workers in the UK and the prevalence of individual and institutional racism at work.


The study found that 27% of those surveyed had experienced racist jokes and ‘banter’ at work, while 21% said others had made racist remarks about them in their presence. The most common perpetrators of racism were found to be colleagues (38%), direct managers (17%) and customers (15%).

The report also highlights that it is not just the behaviour of other staff or customers which can affect the experience of BME workers. 49% of those surveyed reported that they had faced unfair criticism, been subject to excessive surveillance or scrutiny, been denied promotions, and had their requests for training opportunities turned down as a result of institutionalised racism which created additional barriers to progression in their career.

The impact of these experiences is significant. 31% of those surveyed said their experiences had impacted on their mental health.  8% of those surveyed left a job they otherwise enjoyed as a result, while 26% said they wanted to leave their job but were unable to due to financial or other pressures.


The findings of this report are an important reminder that racism in the workplace remains a key consideration for employers.

By not addressing racism in the workplace, employers are not only at greater risk of Employment Tribunal proceedings for harassment and discrimination, but they also face damaged reputation,  the risk of losing good employees and decreased employee engagement. As an employer, there are a number of things you can do to support workers who experience racism at work, and to prevent it happening in the first place:

  • Have clear policies, setting out a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and racism
  • Promote an inclusive environment
  • Provide adequate training to managers for dealing with such behaviour
  • Deal with complaints of such behaviour consistently and thoroughly

For advice on how to introduce policies and processes to promote inclusivity in the workplace, or for management training, please contact our Employment Team.

If you require any further information on the above developments please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the Employment Team.