Why are complaints of workplace race discrimination on the rise?

| Sep 24, 2020 | Race Discrimination |

This year has been a lot of things. One of them is a reckoning on the extent of racial discrimination in the United States. Across the country, activists and protestors have taken to the streets to bring attention to matters like police shootings of black people, economic injustice and related matters.

With attention on racism in American society higher than it has been in decades, it stands to reason that more workers in Dublin and the Columbus area will start to come forward with their stories of workplace racial discrimination by co-workers, supervisors and managers. The trend has already started in the United Kingdom, according to Bloomberg.

Website traffic doubles in one month

In that country, claims of racial discrimination in the workplace made on the government website ACAS have more than doubled since May. The law in Britain requires someone who was discriminated against at work or in hiring to get an ACAS number before their claim can proceed, so visiting the ACAS website is a crucial first step.

British employment attorneys also report getting more calls from prospective clients who were discriminated against at work based on their race. One lawyer compared the trend to the surge of sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases after the #MeToo movement on social media began targeting sexual misconduct in American show business.

The upswing in interest in the ACAS website is noticeable. In May, there were about 500,000 unique page views. Then on Memorial Day, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers. Shortly after that, ACAS saw far more visits to its site. The number of monthly unique visitors to the site doubled to about 1 million for June.

What is likely causing the surge

It is unlikely that racism in the workplace has gone up in the U.K. in the past month. More likely, the doubling in the number of people making or considering making claims is due to the sense that the old rules are going away. More and more, the public is demanding racial justice. That justice includes workplaces free from racist hiring and firing practices, remarks and jokes, as well as retaliation against employees who speak up against these illegal activities.

Here in Ohio, it would not be surprising to see a similar rise in racial discrimination claims as victims feel emboldened to stand up for their legal rights.

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