Racial Discrimination at the workplace – change for the better.  

This past Monday, the 21st of March, we marked International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2022. The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, shared a message against racism.   

“Anti-racism means actively identifying and opposing racism and racial discrimination. Today – and everyday – I call on all of us to raise our voices against policies, practices, and behaviours which exclude.”  

In Ireland, the law which deals with discrimination in the workplace is the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015 (EEA). The EEA aim is to ensure that people have equal opportunities in relation to skills, training, jobs, and promotion.  

Unfortunately, migrants and ethnic minorities in Ireland and around the world still face racial discrimination in their access to the labour market and in the workplace. The EEA states that discrimination shall be taken to occur where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated, based on any of the nine grounds stated in the act, race being one of them.  

At inclusio, we were joined by the Co – founder of Black and IrishLeon Diop, on our first podcast episode, to discuss racial relations in Ireland.  

We discussed the role of language and terminology. Exploring themes like acceptance, representation, and a forward-thinking mindset. 

During our conversation, we mentioned the need to deconstruct structural racism in Ireland, as it has residual effects on other aspects of society, such as business, employment, and people.  

Leon spoke of the disparity in unemployment levels. Stating, “There are statistics to show us that there is a significant gap in the labour market, in terms of the black community being able to access the labour market. Pre-pandemic, our unemployment was between 5%- 8% for white people, up to 13% for the Roma and Travelling community, and 43% and actually up to 63% for some black communities in Ireland. That disparity is massive, and that’s not stemming from people not wanting to work. It’s coming down to how we are hiring people in Ireland, and how businesses are run. And they are run in ways that are non-diverse and non-inclusive”.  

Leon further discusses the types of attitudes and behaviours that stand as barriers to progress. Leon spoke of the need for acceptance of all people and the importance of representation at all levels of institutions and business organisations. 

When asked how to eliminate racial discrimination at the workplace during a feature podcast episode, recorded by Insight HR, I mentioned the importance of education. Continuous learning and unlearning needs to be normalised in a work environment in order for people to take part in the process of building inclusive cultures, where all people are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.   

At inclusio, we have the tools you need to make a difference. Use your voice to challenge all forms of racial discrimination at the workplace and learn how you can be a part of a change for the better. Contact Us today!

Author: Elizabeth Adeyemo, Research & Content Graduate, inclusio.