In the modern workplace you will find people from various different social, racial and cultural backgrounds. They will not have much in common apart from the fact that they work together.
Most of these people will get along as colleagues, however the reality is that because of their differences some will not. This is where problems with discrimination and unacceptable behavior can occur. Sometimes comments or behavior that appear racist or offensive may have been said innocently or may simply have been misunderstood. These instances can be resolved very quickly. However it’s when discrimination is more abusive and deliberate that problems and friction can arise.
At work nobody should be treated differently or unfairly, if they are then legislation exists to protect them. The law makes it a duty of responsible employers to protect their workers from prejudice and discrimination.
In the UK current legislation exists making it unlawful to discriminate against employers on the following grounds:
This occurs when staff or managers make regular derogatory or racist remarks towards a certain person or group of people. For instance when a disabled person is automatically rejected when they apply for a particular vacancy. Other examples are a job advert that states that only ‘single males aged under 30 years’ need apply.
This is a more hidden and subtle form of discrimination. Examples of this are having a unwritten rule that says certain jobs within a company are only ever done by a particular ethnic group. Or where one person gets promotion even though other colleagues may be more qualified and experienced, but who are overlooked because they come from a minority group.
Discrimination at work can come in various ways:
Harassment – constantly picking on one particular member of staff.
Sexual harassment – making unwanted advances of a sexual nature towards a particular person.
Bullying – regularly joking about, shouting at or demeaning a particular employee.