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Is Racism Real?

A report about the experiences of Black and minority ethnic workers – polling findings
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
Key findings
  • More than a third (37%) of Black or minority ethnic (BME) workers polled have been bullied, abused or experienced racial discrimination by their employer.
  • 19% have experienced discrimination such as being denied training or promotion.
  • 15% have experienced verbal abuse and 16% of BME workers have experienced bullying or harassment at work.
  • 43% did not feel able to report their experience of discrimination to their employers and 38% did not report incidents of bullying and harassment.

For many years trade unions have consistently campaigned against all forms of racism and discrimination in the workplace. The TUC believes that racism is real in our workplaces. While considerable research has been conducted on access to employment, there is not much data available on the experiences of Black and minority ethnic (BME) people in the workplace.

Every worker should be treated fairly at work and have a decent, good-quality job. However, experiencing racism at work is part of everyday life for many BME workers. And this racism is often hidden as it is very rarely talked about at work.

This report presents findings from polling commissioned by the TUC from ICM. It was conducted with a panel of 1,003 BME workers The report shows that BME workers face many forms of racism and discrimination such as: verbal abuse; racist comments and jokes; bullying and harassment; physical violence; being singled out and treated differently; or discriminated against.

Our findings show that many BME workers do not report their experience formally and that this has a very negative effect on their general wellbeing, mental health and performance at work.

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