More than 120,000 workers quit jobs because of racism, UK report suggests

·2-min read
Eight per cent of those polled quit as a direct result of racism   (Getty Images)
Eight per cent of those polled quit as a direct result of racism (Getty Images)

More than 120,000 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have left their jobs because of racism, according to a new study.

Two in five workers surveyed said they had faced racism at work in the last five years, with more than one in four suffering racist “jokes”, while 35 per cent said they feel less confident at work.

Eight per cent of those polled made the decision to leave their job as a direct consequence of the racism they experienced.

The landmark study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is believed to be the largest representative survey of the UK’s 3.9 million minority ethnic workers.

It commissioned researchers at Number Cruncher Politics to poll 1,750 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds in the UK and conducted focus group interviews to shine a light on the scale of racism across Britain.

According to the findings, the vast majority of those reporting racist harassment have not told their employer.

This is due to concerns about not being taken seriously or fears about how this will affect working relationships with colleagues.

Now, the TUC has called on Government ministers to change the law so employers are more responsible for protecting employees and preventing workplace racism.

The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “This report lifts the lid on racism in UK workplaces.

“It shines a light on the enormous scale of structural and institutional discrimination BME workers face.

“Many told us they experienced racist bullying, harassment – and worse.

“And alarmingly, the vast majority did not report this to their employer… Ministers need to change the law so that employers are responsible for protecting their workers and preventing racism at work.”

One Black Caribbean lecturer in the south-west of England told researchers: “I drive a nice car and one member of staff asked me if I was a drug dealer, because how else could I afford [it]?”

When she reported the incident she was told ​​“it’s because of the area of the country we live in, which is predominantly white”.

A British Indian woman from London, who was told she was overlooked for a job because the company didn’t want front-facing staff wearing “funny clothes”, said she had never reported a racist incident because she was afraid she would lose her job.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our inclusive Britain action plan sets out plans to build a fairer and more inclusive society, including promoting fairness in the workplace and action to tackle the ethnicity pay gap.”