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EHRC Biggest Ever Review Into Race Equality – What Does it Say?

Today, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published the biggest ever review into race equality in Great Britain.

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The report, intended for Government, policy makers and influencers across all sectors involved in work on race equality and discrimination, reveals that whilst we have seen improvements over the past five years, progress on equality for black and Ethnic Minorities has stalled.

 For some – in particular young, black people – life on many fronts has deteriorated. EHRC Chair, David Isaac said the Report reveals a ‘very worrying combination’ of a post-Brexit rise in hate crime with long-term systemic unfairness and race inequality.

 In Summary The Report Reveals:

  • Black people are much more likely to be victims of crime and be treated more harshly in the criminal justice system. In addition to this race remains the most commonly recorded motivation of hate crime in England and Wales (82 per cent).
  • White women are more likely to report being a victim of domestic abuse than ethnic minority women.
  • Ethnic minorities are still hugely underrepresented in positions of power, despite the 2015 General Election seeing an increase in the proportion of ethnic minority MPs from four per cent to six per cent.
  • Whilst 14 per cent of the UK population is from an ethnic minority background only six per cent of judges who declared their ethnicity in England and Wales were from an ethnic minority.
  • The life chances of most young ethnic minorities have become worse over the past five years and are at the most challenging for generations. In contrast, Chinese students and Indian communities are reported to be progressing well in many areas of life.


The Employment Findings Reported Are:

  • Unemployment rates were significantly higher for ethnic minorities at 13 per cent compared with six per cent for white people.
  • Since 2010 there has been a 49 per cent increase in the UK of long-term unemployment for 16-24 year olds from ethnic minority communities, compared with a two per cent fall for white 16-24 year olds.
  • Black individuals with A-levels are typically paid 14 per cent less than their white peers.
  • Black, Asian and ethnic minority workers with university degrees are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed that white degree qualified workers.
  • Black workers with university degrees earn 23 per cent less on average compared with white workers.
  • Significantly lower percentages of Ethnic Minorities (nine per cent) worked as managers, directors and senior officials, compared with white workers (11 per cent).
  • By the end of 2014, Ethnic Minority representation in FTSE 100 boardrooms was five per cent. All white executive teams ran 69 per cent of FTSE 100 and 95 per cent of FTSE 100 board directors were white. There are currently just two FTSE 200 companies with an ethnic minority chairperson.


The EHRC Recommends The Government Takes Action as Follows:

  • The need for a ‘comprehensive, coordinated and long-term strategy’ to achieve race equality, with clear and measurable outcomes.
  • The strategy should be developed and delivered between the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, and should come under the responsibility of one secretary of state, with clear accountability across Government.
  • All Governments should improve their ethnicity data and ensure it covers a range of research, statistics and ethnic groups to inform their race equality strategies.
  • The EHRC has also written to the UN Committee on Race recommending that the UK Government should take steps to mitigate any discriminatory effects arising from the access to justice reforms.


Summary of The Equality And Human Rights Report

The report sadly shows something we already know and see, and that is that extensive inequality exists within the UK in relation to entry into the workforce, equality of terms, and equality of progression for black and ethnic minorities.

Since the introduction of employment tribunal fees, which has seen a large scale drop in tribunal claims over all and raises issues with regards to access to justice, we have seen a reduction in unfair dismissal claims of 73 per cent since 2010/11. During this same period race discrimination claims have only fallen by 62 per cent, indicating that the underlying trend in race discrimination claims may well be upwards. These numbers of course only represent those able to challenge inequality through legal action.

This is only the tip of the iceberg and illustrates the scale of the problem which exists, and often not statistically reported, within our workplace whilst we should be building a fair and inclusive society.

It is important for all employers to take tougher action and show zero tolerance to discrimination. Employers must champion equality and inclusion through clear equal opportunities policies which are promoted and enforced. This requires appropriate and frequent training to ensure workers know discrimination won’t be tolerated, and become sensitive to cultural differences within a diverse workforce, particularly regarding customs and values. If you consider you have been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality or national origin within the workplace you can find more information here: Equal Respect

Colin Davidson is an employment solicitor at Slater and Gordon in London.

Slater and Gordon employment lawyers deal with many racial discrimination claims and will work discreetly with you every step of the way.

For expert legal advice or immediate representation call our Racial Discrimination Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online. Alternatively, for a free assessment of your race discrimination case you can complete this online race discrimination form.

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