Dealing with discrimination at work

28 Sep 2022

Keeping your employees happy and productive sits at the heart of business success. Yet if discrimination creeps into the workplace, knowingly or not, that ‘happy place’ can be jeopardised. Here at Ingeus we realise just how important it is to understand discrimination – to challenge it – to combat it. 

What is discrimination at work?

The Equality Act 2010 states that it is against the law to treat someone unfairly because of a protected characteristic, such as race or gender. Discrimination at work can take many different forms, reaching from the recruitment process through to a person ultimately leaving the organisation.


While most modern UK workforces have protection and HR structures to prevent these negative practices, do we always recognise discrimination? Do we understand how it is impacting our thoughts and behaviours? 


What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias is a form of discrimination where prejudices are held subconsciously, affecting the way a person thinks about others without them realising. A person’s prejudices and attitudes are often held subconsciously, they’re not necessarily well-formed judgements and can be ingrained from childhood. 

In the workplace these judgements can manifest in many ways. A recruiter, for example, is more likely to offer a role to someone who shares similar interests with them or has a similar background; who they consider they will work well with, rather than the person with the best skills for the job. People may subconsciously place someone in higher regard because of learning something impressive about them, or on the flip side, someone may be overlooked or otherwise disadvantaged due to a perceived negative trait or association. 

Acknowledgement of and understanding these mind sets is the first step to tackling organisational discrimination.

How can you challenge discrimination at work?

Embracing diversity and inclusion is fundamental to challenging prejudices people may have at work. Through educating and informing employees about the benefits of a diverse culture, as well as the types of bias to be aware of, preventing discrimination takes a huge stride forward.  

So how can an organisation put fairness, diversity, and equality centre stage?

Discrimination is damaging, to individuals and employers. It reduces productivity and morale, impacts mental health, dents corporate reputations, and ultimately loses staff. 

By embracing diversity, employers can access new talent pools, gain new insights, and become an employer of future choice. It’s where Ingeus’s sights are firmly set, come join us.  

Where to get more help

For free advice and information around the issue of discrimination at work, visit:


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