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Discrimination in the workplace

A report based on research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, estimates that ethnic minorities in the UK spend i?? 40 billion /annum. Therefore companies that discriminate on racial grounds are unlikely to be tapping into this large market. We will see examples of this racism when we look later at the problems "Ford" had with their plant in Dagenham, Essex. We have identified three main ways in which racial discrimination manifests itself in the workplace. These are : Direct And Indirect racial discrimination and Victimisation.

 

You can see these analysed in more detail below. Direct Discrimination: Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is able to show that they have been less favourably chosen on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. Proving direct discrimination in the work place is often difficult, as most employers are aware of the existence of discrimination laws and therefore are cautious about admitting discriminatory preferences.

 

Sometimes, though very rarely employers admit a preference for white male workers, as in Morris and others v Scott and Knowles, (C. Palmer "Discrimination at work" 1992,LAG). It is unlikely that these preferences will be admitted, as generally employers will claim that they were motivated by other non-discriminatory considerations. The definition of the Direct Discrimination in the Race Relations Act states that discrimination ' on racial grounds ' is unlawful this means that someone can complain that they have been discriminated against on the grounds of someone else's race. Racist abuse and harassment are classic forms of direct discrimination.

 

Evidence that there is a white-male dominated workforce may point to discrimination within the workplace although to prove this discrimination it is often necessary to obtain details of the qualifications and experience of other applicants for similar positions, when applying for jobs and promotions. A good example of Direct Discrimination in the work place is the case of Mr. Parma, who worked at the Ford Dagenham plant, which is illustrated later in the assignment. As you can see the definition is complex and has often been wrongly been applied by tribunals and courts due to a lack of understanding.

 

There are a number of questions, which need to be answered in order to prove indirect discrimination within the workplace . A good example of a job requirement that would be indirectly discriminate is the specification for no "headgear" , as this would exclude Sikh men and boys , who wear a turban, Jewish men that wear a yarmulka or Pakistani women or girls who wear a hijaab(headscarf), as part of their religion. As with direct discrimination, indirect discrimination can occur either at the recruitment stage, at work or in dismissing an employee.

 

Unlike direct discrimination, there is no need to prove that the discriminator meant to discriminate and in most cases there is no such intention. In the modern workplace indirect discrimination is likely to occur as a result of past practises which were directly discriminatory. Although the initial discrimination may not still exist it s affects often last for years afterwards. This is illustrated in Steel v The Post Office (No2). (C. Palmer "Discrimination at work" 1992,LAG). Victimisation:

 

Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the race relations act. It occurs if someone is treated less favourably because they have previously complained about direct racial discrimination or have supported somebody else who has. Lucas Work Part 3 Part 4: Case study: FORD, Dagenham plant, Essex. We are now going to take a look at a recent case study, which covers all the different types of racism we have demonstrated and also attempts to outline some of the initiatives which were put in place to repair the damage.

 

In 1996, it emerged just 2% of those selected to drive Ford's truck fleet (Salary i?? 30,000) were from ethnic minorities. Black and Asian workers make up more than 40% of those employed at Dagenham, Ford's biggest UK plant. This resulted in seven previously rejected workers later being paid more than i?? 70,000 compensation. Subsequently Ford doctored advertising literature featuring UK workers, removing all black faces. The altered pictures were intended for use in Poland - where few employees are non-white. However, the photos cropped up in UK showrooms in 1996.

 

The four workers, whose images were altered, received i?? 1,500 compensation each. In 1999, Dagenham worker Sukhjit Parma told a industrial tribunal he had been subjected to racial abuse, death threats and Ku Klux Klan graffiti by two white foremen. Ford admitted liability and just as Mr Parma's case was being heard. Asian shop steward, Jaswir Tega was allegedly pushed by a white foreman, "almost falling" into production machinery. " It took the company about two years to believe what was happening and to do anything about it. " said Ms.Barbara Cohen the head of legal policy of the CRE (The Commission for Racial Equality) (www. bbc. co. uk/news Thursday,5 October 2000 07:12GMT).

 

Given this dismal catalogue of events, what can Ford do to get everything in order? The company was certainly not slow to articulate its desire to pursue racial equality - with its global boss Jac Nasser flying in to pledge his determination to reform Dagenham. Robin Banerji of the CRE said that such boardroom promises mean nothing if attitudes on the shopfloor are not addressed. Global boss Jac Nasser promised action

 

"The big problem we find is that senior management say they are committed to equality action plans, which are often very impressive - on paper - but they are not implemented on the ground. " (www. bbc. co. uk/news ) Mr Banerji admitted that: "changing attitudes is very difficult", but stated that the most successful way is to change the emphasis put on promoting equality. Managers and foremen are more likely to adopt the attitudes espoused in the boardroom if their own promotion and pay prospects depend on ensuring the equal treatment of their subordinates.

 

In order for Ford to gauge how impartial their managers were, they needed to make sure their managers were closely monitoring the performance of their ethnic workers. The company had no difficulty in recruiting black and Asian employees - they represent a fifth of its national workforce. However, few made it far up the career ladder. To rectify this a diversity manager was required, to identify problem areas, hear workers' grievances and advise those leading the organisation. "If management immediately above a diversity manager sit on their complaints or don't believe them they may as well not exist," said Mr Banerji. (www. bbc. co. uk/news ) Kamaljeet Jandu, former race equality officer with the TUC, is the newly-appointed diversity manager for Ford's UK operation. "Changing the culture of an organisation cannot happen overnight. One has to realise the enormity of the task.

 

There are no instant solutions. " said Mr. Jandu (www. bbc. co. uk/news ) He went onto say "there is much frustration at the disproportion of ethnic workers in "lower end" jobs, but "recognition of a situation can itself take time, it takes time for these anxieties to filter through to the top". (www. bbc. co.uk/news ) Mr Jandu said that aside from the ethical issues, Ford should be motivated to tackle its race problems out of business necessity, considering their run of bad publicity or face a potential drop in sales. "In terms of production recent racist incidents have prompted expensive walkouts by workers and may well be hindering output on a daily basis. " said Mr Jandu. (www. bbc. co. uk/news ) In response to the crisis Ford management along with trade unions and the Commission for Racial Equality(CRE) agreed an action plan to stamp out racism at Dagenham, Essex.

 

A report based on research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, estimates that ethnic minorities in the UK spend i?? 40 billion /annum. Therefore companies that discriminate on racial grounds are unlikely to be tapping into this large market. We will see examples of this racism when we look later at the problems "Ford" had with their plant in Dagenham, Essex. We have identified three main ways in which racial discrimination manifests itself in the workplace. These are : Direct And Indirect racial discrimination and Victimisation.

You can see these analysed in more detail below. Direct Discrimination: Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is able to show that they have been less favourably chosen on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. Proving direct discrimination in the work place is often difficult, as most employers are aware of the existence of discrimination laws and therefore are cautious about admitting discriminatory preferences.

Sometimes, though very rarely employers admit a preference for white male workers, as in Morris and others v Scott and Knowles, (C. Palmer "Discrimination at work" 1992,LAG). It is unlikely that these preferences will be admitted, as generally employers will claim that they were motivated by other non-discriminatory considerations. The definition of the Direct Discrimination in the Race Relations Act states that discrimination ' on racial grounds ' is unlawful this means that someone can complain that they have been discriminated against on the grounds of someone else's race. Racist abuse and harassment are classic forms of direct discrimination.

Evidence that there is a white-male dominated workforce may point to discrimination within the workplace although to prove this discrimination it is often necessary to obtain details of the qualifications and experience of other applicants for similar positions, when applying for jobs and promotions. A good example of Direct Discrimination in the work place is the case of Mr. Parma, who worked at the Ford Dagenham plant, which is illustrated later in the assignment. As you can see the definition is complex and has often been wrongly been applied by tribunals and courts due to a lack of understanding.

There are a number of questions, which need to be answered in order to prove indirect discrimination within the workplace . A good example of a job requirement that would be indirectly discriminate is the specification for no "headgear" , as this would exclude Sikh men and boys , who wear a turban, Jewish men that wear a yarmulka or Pakistani women or girls who wear a hijaab(headscarf), as part of their religion. As with direct discrimination, indirect discrimination can occur either at the recruitment stage, at work or in dismissing an employee.

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