Racism is a real problem in the global economy and there is still a long way to go before a level playing field is achieved. Racism consists of conduct or words or practices that disadvantage or advantage people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be subtle or overt, intentional or unwitting. For example, racism can be expressed by giving uninformed people titles without any real authority to go with them, or more overtly by enforcing unequal compensation policies. Both occurrences would negatively impact people in the workplace. People who feel discriminated against because of racism admit feeling isolated and alone in the company where they work, with few people to interact with during their daily business routines. Some of the most common examples of racism in the workplace include the following (One Workplace Equal Rights n.d.).
- A workplace has a small proportion of workers from minority ethnic groups, not properly reflecting the ethnic breakdown of the area
- Staff responsible for recruitment end up unconsciously not selecting ethnic minority candidates
- An applicant for a job is restricted because of a concern that “they will not fit in”
- A grievance about an allegation of race discrimination takes months to be heard, and months more to be finally decided about by management
- Assumptions are made that certain racial groups have specific skills
- Promotions depend on previous acting up or supervisory experiences, which mainly white workers have
- Promotional possibilities are not advertised internally or externally, but made on the whim of a manager
- There are no procedures for promotion; it can often depend on off-hours socializing at the pub or golf course
- Workplace culture makes ethnic minority workers feel uncomfortable
- A worker is the butt of jokes that make reference to his or her race
- In a redundancy exercise, a larger number of workers from ethnic minorities are selected for redundancy than white workers
- A worker is selected under circumstances that suggest that he or she might have been selected because of having made allegations of racism
- Misconduct by ethnic minority workers leads to dismissal, whereas in similar circumstances white workers are given final warnings
- A worker is dismissed for not speaking English with his colleagues
As a Career Coaches, the right thing to do is make sure people are educated about their rights in the workplace. It is important to be aware of the key discriminating factors so that coaches can help their clients avoid potential conflicts.