In the modern 21st Century of the British society, you still find that within the workplace institutional racism inevitably still exists on a wide-ranging scale, and continues to ascend. A typical example is religious prejudice, character bias, discrimination (whether it be direct or indirect), and even favoritism.
A feeling of fear or agitation may prevail when bringing a defence for tackling such issues; how do we prevent such problems that commonly persist within a work environment, who do we trust and how can we best address it? Or perhaps, is there someone higher up the ladder you can discuss the concern too? Before planning an uprising, or something similar, it’s imperative to know the law. Individually, employment law – what are your rights as an employee? Relevant statutory legislation that applies includes The Equality Act 2010 and The Race Relations Act (Amended) 2000/2003. It would be recommended to be familiar with how a workplace operates in regards to its logistical functions.
The Race Relations Act (Amendment) 2000/2003 places a duty on public authorities to actively encourage positive relations between institutional races and also introduced a new definition of harassment, as a form of direct discrimination. By law, companies are required to have a policy implemented for promoting race equality and to eradicate unlawful prejudicial behavior of different people.
The Equality Act 2010 seeks to address a public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities and to uphold protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment and sexual orientation. These are just an example of what the Act requires.
Institutional racism is inherent and present. An example is where an ethnicity prioritises their own as opposed to treating everyone with the same honour and respect, also known as ethnic favoritism.
A study released on diversity in the legal profession in England and Wales for the Solicitors Regulation Authority found that white males have a higher probability of becoming partners compared to female and BAME legal professionals, in relation to all different types of firm that exist.
Women only make up 24% of partners, with a significant drop to 19% in Magic Circle firms. The most senior position within chambers and the judiciary are still dominated by a particular demographic; white privileged men who possess a history of lobbying government to tailor policies in their favour. This is structural inequality that is deeply inherent in the system. Gender imbalance has now led to a culture of meritocracy through the complacency of women and socio-economic groups. Engendering a specific discourse will provide resurgence and reform through incrementalism by eventual removal of the disproportionate barrier, perpetuated by unequal laws affecting women.
Though in the recent years there has been an uprising of women who enter into the legal profession, they still remain a significantly under-represented group when it comes to the most senior positions, and there is also a subtle barrier when it comes to pay discrepancies. Labelled as a male-dominant environment, there needs to be an implementation of mentoring platforms to establish an equilibrium, and to give women the chance to secure senior positions, thus preventing patriarchy.
Christiana Blacklaws – “Every law firms, solicitor, and the client will benefit from greater equality in our places of work. I believe our justice system will also be stronger if the legal profession better reflects the values we uphold.”
Key figures published by the Law Society show that, only 16% see visible steps taken to address the gender pay gap in their workplace, and 60% are aware of a gender pay gap in their workplace. Diversity and equality, a component of every application process, is something that is mentioned and is a policy that should be upheld. There should be more policies in place to prevent institutional racism, this could be by considering the history of the selection of applicants, whether they cover a wide diversity, or whether in the selection process, there is a predominant rejection of minorities (despite the applicant having applaudable academics). This should work to shift focus to such vigorous processes in eliminating injustice.
Our government needs to put restrictive measures to avoid institutional racism and gender inequality by means of incorporating an educational understanding of what constitutes a representation of such and how to tackle it. To educate individuals in regards to their employment laws, rights they have and how to address those rights and to whom. The implementation can be done through incentive workshop schemes, or free online eLearning modules.
When discussing a concern, regardless of the unease one feels, it’s vital to avoid anger, and to focus on staying clam, compelling and connected. Sometimes we may find that if enough pressure is applied to the other side, perhaps they’ll acquiesce regarding their position on the subject. An important part of this is that we get the opportunity of practising the idea of finding a shared value with someone on the opposite side of the spectrum. We then must ask – how can you find address a mutual concern and build a positive discussion going forward?