30 May 2014: According to the Guardian newspaper this week, the British Social Attitudes survey shows that the percentage of people who describe themselves as prejudiced against those of other races has risen overall since 2001. People admitting to some level of prejudice have increased by 7% to 31% in the South East. London reports the lowest levels of racial prejudice while older men in economically deprived areas are most likely to admit to racial prejudice. Whether people are simply more honest, or there actually is more prejudice around, is open to debate.
Meanwhile, HR Magazine reports the ‘Career Paradox for UK Women’ survey which indicates that almost half of women (44%) still face barriers at work, despite 80% saying they feel supported by their employer. 36% of women report experiencing prejudice in the workplace because of their gender. 94% of women in accountancy express confidence in their employers’ ability to support and retain female staff, while only 11% in engineering believe that their employers can retain female employees.
These reports are a timely reminder to not only ensure that you have a well drafted Equal Opportunities policy in place, but that all staff are aware of it, and if necessary have received training on it as well. Complaints of race and sex discrimination claims can be corrosive, difficult and expensive to deal with, and it is often sensible to train staff before these issues arise.
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