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Does my employer need to prevent race related banter in the workplace?

In recent years, light has been cast on an important issue that should be the focus of more attention: when ‘banter’ in the workplace becomes discrimination. We take a look at what employers can do to ensure that racial abuse in the workplace does not happen, and what responsibilities they have to protect their employees.

What can an employer do about cases of race-related ‘banter’?

Employers must not ignore any cases of race-related ‘banter’, even if no one reacts. For one, employees could be saying nothing because they feel uncomfortable, and secondly, it is imperative, as a reputable employer, that they are not seen as encouraging or tolerating comments such as these.

Speaking to employees may sometimes resolve the issue, however if a quiet word does not suffice, then employers should not be afraid to use disciplinary procedures.

Where there is a regulatory or governing body, employers may also feel that it is appropriate to report the matter to them. For examples, should someone who is working in the insurance business be accused of being racist, an employer would be encouraged to report their conduct to the Financial Conduct Authority.

How can my employer stop banter going too far in future?

Employers should have an internal policy that clearly defines their stance on equal opportunities and diversity. This should make it clear to all employees what is seen as appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

Having staff training on these issues at least once a year is an important way to remind employees of their responsibilities, and an effective way to communicate that these behaviours will not be tolerated and will be punished accordingly.

Can texts and emails be monitored?

This can be done if the employer has made its employees aware that it plans to monitor their texts and emails.

The employer can only monitor work phone and email accounts, and can do so to stop employees using these for private communications.

Employers have a number of ways to prevent racist jokes in the workplace, and all are easily implementable. It is the responsibility of the employer to protect all employees, and if you think your employer is not doing everything in their powers to protect you, then you may be entitled to make a claim.

Contact our Workplace Discrimination Solicitors Hertfordshire

With lawyers based in Hertfordshire, and servicing London, Southern England and beyond, our team of Workplace Discrimination Solicitors can help you with all areas of your claim, ensuring you receive the best representation from the start of your case through to the end. To speak to a member of our team, call us today on 01442 330 446, or complete our online enquiry form.

Lloyd Donnelly Solicitors

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