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Why Documenting Racism in the Workplace is Important

Updated: Jan 10

This type of mistreatment has the ability to derail an employee’s emotional state, leaving them feeling angry, excluded and alone. By Sophie Jarvis I December 14, 2021


A survey conducted earlier this year by the SHRM found that more than a third of Black workers reported being unfairly treated in the workplaces due to their race or ethnicity. This type of mistreatment has the ability to derail an employee’s emotional state, leaving them feeling angry, excluded and alone. The report found that these emotional responses tend to be followed by negative changes in behavior, with 45% reporting that they put less effort into their work than they could have. 21% admitted to arriving late to work or leaving early without their supervisor’s approval. 48% said they called in sick to work, due to anxiety, frustration, or stress.


The report highlighted two major concerns related to incidences of racism in the workplace. The primary reason concerns the moral, ethical and human reasons for abolishing racism, as it is completely unacceptable bigotry that causes extreme emotional damage to individuals. Racism runs deep within institutions in America, as demonstrated by the disproportionate mistreatment of people of color at the hands of the police. It’s often the case that many white people deny the existence of racism, as they define racism as deliberate and obvious actions motivated by hatred. However, racism can often occur without conscious intent, and manifests itself in covert ways, such as through microaggressions. This could include things like a white employee suggesting that a person of color was promoted to fulfil diversity quotas, rather than on the merit of their skills and endeavors.


The other reason for ensuring that racism is eradicated from the workplace is that the cost of racism is also high employees. The report conducted by the SHRM found that absenteeism, on the basis of unfair treatment due to race or ethnicity, cost US businesses $54.1BN in the past year, while staff turnover caused by racial inequality may have cost businesses up to $172BN over the past five years.


Although only scratching the surface, the above demonstrates is that there’s still a desperate need to eliminate racism from the workplace. In order to achieve this, it’s crucial that incidences of racism are documented. Use personal devices, rather than company ones, to create a record of evidence. Use Track and Assess to keep track of any bigoted behavior, unwanted comments, or uncomfortable situations. By doing so, you are collating evidence that can be used to make a case against an individual or your company. This paper trail can be turned into a report to be shared with your HR department, if possible, or the EEOC.


While it is true that many large institutions across the country need reviewing and overhauling in order to tackle the root forces at work, individual enterprises have the means to effect real changes in their workplaces, to help eliminate incidences of racism. Employers can do their part by ensuring that there are policies and training measure in place for staff, and by taking reports of racism seriously.



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