'Don't accept racism at work': Lothian MSP Foysol Choudhury speaks out after report finds 120,000 quit jobs over racism

A Lothian MSP has spoken out about racism at work after a report found thousands of people from minority ethnic backgrounds have quit their jobs because of racism and discrimination.

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Labour’s Foysol Choudhury said the findings were not a surprise and called for regular monitoring of workplaces.

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) report, ‘Still Rigged: Racism in the UK Labour Market 2022’, said more than 120,000 workers from ethnic minorities had left because of racism in the workplace.

One in four ethnic minority workers said they had faced racist jokes at work in the last five years and 35 per cent said it left them feeling less confident at work.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said many of the ethnic minority workers surveyed said they had experienced racist bullying, harassment and worse, but the vast majority did not report this to their employer.

She said the law should be changed so employers were responsible for protecting their workers and preventing racism at work.

Mr Choudhury said: “The findings in the TUC report aren’t a surprise to anyone and I am sure the true numbers of people affected by workplace racism are much higher than reported.

Foysol Choudhury wants regular monitoring in the workplace.

"I spoke out in February about my concerns over racism in the workplace after the publication of the Scottish Government's equality impact assessment into its Race Recruitment and Retention Action Plan. Unfortunately, these recent findings have reinforced the concerns that I raised then.

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“Racism is damaging to our society and our people. It has detrimental effects on one’s mental health and sense of belonging. Making fun of people, their culture, skin colour or making assumptions about others shouldn’t be the norm, nor accepted in a civilised society.

“The report underlines the folly of the efforts in some corners of our politics to roll back policies of diversity and inclusion and dismiss them as ‘woke’ concerns.

"It shows us the real, pernicious impact that racism has in the workplace, on real people. It shows us the value of workplaces being aware of cultural and anti-racist behaviours and unconscious biases, and how much more there is to do in developing true equality.

“We all need to work together to promote fairness, anti-discriminatory and anti-racism across society. Our institutions and workplaces need to be monitored regularly.

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"Racism won’t end until everyone realises we are one humanity and no one is inferior to another. The past cannot be changed, the present and future can. Let’s put a stop to racism.”

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