Discrimination in the workplace

CSP assistant director Jim Fahie says most discriminatory actions in the workplace go unchallenged

Workplace feature

Ubah Jama and Princess Mntonintshi are both biochemists who worked in Essex, while Michelle Cox worked as an NHS continuing healthcare manager in NHS England’s North West regional team. Samira Shaikh, an ophthalmic technician, worked at the Moorlands Eye Hospital in London. 

They all have something in common; each of them took their employer to employment tribunals, which were heard this year, and each of them won a case of discrimination.

Each of these cases are in the public domain, each is harrowing, and each case shows that racism is still rife throughout the NHS. 

What about those that commit the act of discrimination – do they ‘get away with it’?   

Looking through the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, no, they do not. A basic trawl brings up hearings, where name calling, exclusion, harassment and victimisation are common themes. Thankfully, so are the outcomes – suspension or being struck off the register.

I believe that most discriminatory actions remain unchallenged in the workplace, whether that is due to people believing:

  • it is a waste of time highlighting racism because you won’t be believed and even if you are little will change.
  • it is likely to make things worse.
  • you are better off keeping quiet and suffering in silence.
  • you should leave your employer or join the NHS bank or an agency where at least you can have some say in where you work.

How will the CSP help?

We have provided additional training to our reps on discrimination and wider equity, diversity and belonging issues, ensuring ongoing support from senior negotiating officers for discrimination cases.

If you experience or witness discriminatory behaviour, speak to your local CSP steward or equality rep, they will listen and assist you to challenge and stop it. Their contact details are here.

Where there is no rep, call the CSP to seek advice on: 020 7306 6666. If there is no steward in your employer, why not look to sign up here.

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