One in three adults have experienced or witnessed racism at work, study finds

Nearly a third of employed adults have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace, new research has found.

Job and recruitment website Glassdoor recently released its Diversity and Inclusion Study 2019, which investigated the extent to which discrimination occurs in a work environment.

The study included a survey, carried out by The Harris Poll, for which more than 5,000 adults from the US, the UK, France and Germany were questioned about workplace discrimination.

According to the survey’s findings, 31 per cent of employed adults in the UK have experienced or witnessed racism at work, a quarter have experienced or witnessed discrimination over sexual orientation or identity, and more than a third have experienced or witnessed gender discrimination.

Overall, more than half of UK adults in employment said they have experienced or witnessed instances of racist, ageist, gender or LGBT+ discrimination at work.

The survey also highlighted the distinct ways in which men and women experience different forms of discrimination in the workplace.

More than a third of men said they have experienced or witnessed racism at work, in comparison to a quarter of women.

Meanwhile, 31 per cent of the male employees said they have experienced or witnessed LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace, in comparison to 19 per cent of the female employees.

The report found significant disparities between the number of employees of different age groups who reported experiencing or witnessing discrimination.

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Almost half of millennial employees said they have experienced or witnessed gender discrimination, in comparison to 17 per cent of those aged over 55.

Furthermore, racism was experienced or witnessed by 42 per cent of millennial employees, three and a half times the percentage of those in their mid-fifties and over.

“This research presents a somewhat worrying picture of the experience employees are having with regards to discrimination at work,” said John Lamphiere, vice president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Glassdoor.

“Creating a company culture that celebrates and respects people for their diverse backgrounds and experiences should be a top priority for all employers.”

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Earlier this month, a study released by the Business in Community organisation found that one in four ethnic minority workers report experiencing bullying and harassment despite the existence of zero-tolerance policies at work.

The report discovered that less than half of businesses have carried out reviews into bullying or harassment in their workplace.

The survey included data from 108 companies in the UK, which between them employ more than 32,000 BAME staff. The report’s results represent a UK workforce comprising more than 1.3 million people.


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