According to research, one in five Britons of working age said they were discriminated against at work in the past year. This underscores the need to improve the system so workers can seek redress through courts.
A survey by the Resolution FoundationThe think-tank released Tuesday’s findings. It found that 8 million people aged 18 to 64 felt that they had been denied job promotion, training opportunities, or other advantages due to a characteristic that should have protected by law.
Ageism affected the largest numbers, with the survey pointing to 3.7mn people who felt they had suffered discrimination on that basis — including 16 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 11 per cent of those aged between 55 and 65.
This is a striking finding considering the large numbers of older workers who have chosen to leave the workforce before reaching state pension age since the coronavirus pandemic — many of whom say that ageist recruitment practices and a workplace culture centred on youth played a part in their decision.
Although many employers are making efforts to address other forms of discrimination — partly spurred by requirements for gender pay reporting, and the gradual spread of voluntary reporting on ethnicity pay gaps — very fewCompanies make proactive efforts to promote or hire older workers.
However, discrimination based upon race was found to be more prevalent than expected. commitments made by many employersAfter George Floyd’s death, it was necessary to address racism in staff hiring and promotion.
The Resolution Foundation reported that more than a fifth (55%) of people of ethnic minorities were discriminated on the basis only of their ethnicity. However, they are also more likely be subject to discrimination because of their age or sexual orientation at work.
According to the survey, 2.7 million people working age were discriminated against because of their sex.
People with disabilities were also less likely to state that they were denied jobs, promotions, or training due to their disability.
The think-tank said the poll suggested discrimination was at least as widespread as when previous surveys ran in the UK in 2008, 2015 and 2021 — although it noted that some people appeared to be reporting problems they had faced over a longer time period than the past year they were asked about.
Hannah Slaughter, senior economist at the think-tank, said the research showed discrimination remained “all too common in workplaces today”, and pointed to the need for the government to bolster enforcement of workers’ rights and help low-paid workers take action through the courts.
Since 2008, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has seen its funding reduced by four-fifths in real terms. This means that it can only take on a few key cases.
But the employment tribunal system — the main route of redress — favours higher paid employees who are better able to fund a long legal process and more likely to gain, since out-of-court settlements are frequent and generally related to earnings.
The Foundation found that low-paid workers earning less than £20,000 were in 2017 around half as likely to take their employer to court as those earning £40,000 or more.
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