‘Winner Takes All ‘ – The Charade of Philanthropy

Winner takes all’ – Charade of Philanthropy by Anand Giridharadas

Yes, its Valentine’s Day and I love how the author, Giridharadas eloquently challenges the ‘new religion’ that plutocrats (super-rich entrepreneurs) are the only ones who can change the world for the ‘better’, not democracy through elected, accountable governments. Such individuals “ are like the arsonists who turn up to put out the fire they started” They start by discrediting government as incompetent having starved them of tax funds so the public becomes convinced government are made up of pointless bureaucrats. Super rich Entrepreneurs then ride in like the cavalry to save the day with public already gaslighted to see them as the superhero’s and elected officials as the villains.

Tax haven counties like the Netherlands are exporting oligarchic systems to ensure all countries go in the wrong direction of making government as small as possible creating laws with no fangs such as addressing gender and ethnicity pay gap which are seen as minority rather than family and class issues. Demands for equality are re-framed in political terms as ‘left’ and ‘right’ rather than ‘top and bottom’ so as to discredit such demands as being of undesirable political persuasion.

Smaller entrepreneurs start to emulate the same behaviours as the oligarchs at a local level and hence the gaslighting seeps into the fabric of local communities quelling the rise of any serious leadership challenges amongst the marginalised and under-represented groups. For this reason it was fascinating to read the research on charities, their homogeneous (white middle-class) workers and volunteers and funding is concentrated in affluent areas and not where there are need most, namely deprived areas of the country and cities across the UK.https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jan/17/charity-gap-highlights-need-to-rebuilt-society-says-thinktank?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

This system has set up the ‘rich man’s veto’ against laws to ensure they keep money extracted by the labour of the majority that should be used to fund social problems they created in the first place. They are the architects of recent scandals like the growth of food banks (a failure of government but lauded as philanthropy doing good); #Grenfell fire and #Wiindrush sagas #ClinicalNegligence cases in the #NHS and millions spent on fighting legitimate #Whistleblowers where minority voices are missing from public policy and public discourse due to bias in the media run by homogeneous groups aligned to systems of power. The lack of diversity amongst the decision makers who design our public policies, legislation and professions who help to enact these policies whether at national or organisational level ensure such policies are enacted in ways that ensure they will have little measurable impact on lived experiences of minority groups they have no proximity and empathy with. The inter-relationship between proximity, policy and empathy is missing from the equation to effect improved working lives and notions of ‘good work’. Until we have legislation to demand equality impact assessments are carried out we perpetrate the cycle of avoiding accountability and transparency in decision making and public policy enactment.

They prefer philanthropy over taxes because this gives them both credit and control. This helps enhance their reputations and clean up what they did that was bad like hurting the climate, causing the financial crisis, paying people at low levels and employing them insecurely. If they were to pay their taxes anonymously they don’t get personal credit with the photo shoot at Award Ceremonies or control over how the money is spent i.e. boring but necessary things like NI, adoption, fostering, fire services, employment rights, access to justice, roads, schools, childcare, elder care homes, hospitals etc. Instead they can invest in their pet projects like their favourite art gallery, opera house or food banks. Serious thinkers who challenge this system get invited in small numbers to these elite spaces as a pseudo attempt to add spice. They are invited to gently challenge in conversations at elite round table discussions in order to seduce them to water down their objections to a gamed system that relies on whom you know than what you know (the fallacy of meritocracy). These minority voices fall for it because they start to think if I water down demands for income and power redistribution, become grateful and congenial at a personal level  I will get invited back and this converted patronage by those in power will not be withdrawn and replaced by the next dissenter waiting in the wings.

When sitting at the devil’s table or lying with dogs you risk eventually getting fleas so must remain super vigilant to ‘snakes in suits’. The seduction process seeks to get you to take your eye of public policy and how it is being engineered to privilege the few with selected few from the masses to act as its mouthpieces in return for a few crumbs from the table while the ‘Winner takes all’ literally. So it is useful to be reminded of of the wisdom of Plato “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men”.

Youtube link to interview with Anand : https://youtu.be/qcHlNKLQBIM

Safia Boot – Founder Respect at Work Limited

Date: Friday 14 February 2020


Twitter: @respectatworkuk

© Respect at Work Ltd

#Inequality #SocialJustice #gaslighting #democracy #Oligarchies #EmploymentLaw #Poverty #InstitutionalRacism #EthnicityPayGap #GenderPayGap #AccessToJustice #GenderEquality #Davos #FinancialCrisis #Hubris #Tax #TaxHavens #OffShore #Banking #WhitePrivilege #Class

Race to be Superior – Myths of Race ‘Science’​

 @RespectAtWork - See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil, - A do nothing option?Race ‘science’ is so engrained in our thinking that we fail to challenge bad science. Angela Saini’s new book ‘Superior’ helps explode some enduring myths.“There is not just simply a long history of prejudice. It is also because “race”, defined in terms of skin colour or facial features, was and sometimes still is a rough-and-ready clue to culture: language, cuisine, perhaps religion and shared moral values.” 

Accordingly, no one can fail to notice how often people prefix ‘values’ with national identity as if there a hierarchy of superior values over and above another nation’s values such as: ‘British-Values’ or ‘American-Values’ compared to PTOS Trump’s sentiments “Shit-hole countrys’ values (aka countries with people with a ‘#FunnyTinge’)”; whilst forgetting national boundaries are in themselves social constructs arising from land grabs, wars, annexations, unifications, a long shared history of colonialism, slavery and indentured labour moving populations across continents. Movement of people is across land and sea is the essence of the humankind’s development across the millennia through the sharing of ideas, food, language, science, culture, art, music, etc – so you can’s simply: “Send them back!” without sending these things of value back too (wherever ‘back to’ is) or as if Western governments can dictate to non-Western countries they must take back their people when they had been moved by force in the first place or invited them to help build/re-build after world wars and other disasters. Places like New Zealand, America and Australia would empty rapidly if this sentiment was carried to its natural conclusion. Even if not practical to implement, words matter when they cause division and a sense of threat to those being marginalised for pursing the same rights to equality and fairness.

It seems beyond the reach of some to embrace the concept of simple, #UniversalValues such as respect, dignity, fairness, inclusion, humanity, kindness, friendliness, accountability, honesty, integrity, professionalism and the favourite one of ‘tolerance’. Universal values are the basis on which we should seek to connect with each other, not social constructs of race and vague notions of ‘national identity’ defined by skin colour. An example of how claiming national superiority over ‘values’ operates, is from when I was living in a little village outside Winchester, Hampshire. I got invited to a garden party held in a quintessentially English thatched cottage one June summer’s day, belonging to a neighbour with the local great and good in attendance. The local vicar came up to me and introduced himself (although I had seen him out and about before, he is likely to have considered me a visitor as did a ‘concerned’ couple who asked whilst I was out for a walk in my boots and barber jacket – “Are you lost?”.

The first question this English vicar asked in his posh accent was: “Do you find the people in this village tolerant?” (note: I had been living there c7 years of my 14 by then and this was my first garden party invite). Puzzled, by why I had been singled out for such a question, I forced him with the turn of my head to watch me scan the room (I was the only person of colour in the room as well as knowing I was the only one in 800 in the village apart from my children – my husband being white-British). I returned to look him in the eye and ask “What is it about me that has to be ‘tolerated’ by my neighbours?” he literally choked on his strawberry jam scone as the penny dropped and made a rapid exit without replying, such was the discomfort for him. His exit meant, we both missed out on an opportunity to explore his curiosity further, learn more about each other and for me to feel a sense of belonging as his other white parishioners did. The key lesson here is to question the assumption that BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) people should somehow be ‘grateful’ they are ‘tolerated’ as opposed to being celebrated for their differences in language, culture, food, music, art, resilience, vibrancy and contribution they make to evolving Britain or any new home country they move to, to create sustainable and healthy communities with shared, universal values that transcend national boundaries. It should not matter where someone came from – it’s where they are, where they are heading and life choices, they make that should be the subject of curiosity. My advice is don’t ask unless you are prepared to also explore your own inter-generational origins, since if you go back far enough most of us (especially in America, ‘the land of the free – to roam’) were immigrants somewhere along the line.

A recent Guardian article provides an excellent synopsis of some of the central themes in Saini’s race science myth busting book which helps us develop further context for why #racism persists: https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/03/superior-by-angela-raini-review?CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=true

Even good intentions about race science can go array be it in the NHS or USA healthcare provisions, Saini adds: “US medical researchers studying people’s responses to drugs in 2003 routinely used racial groupings to categorise and analyse their subjects – and yet none could say quite how they defined race, retreating into embarrassed laughs. Even where “race differences” in health and medicine have been identified, such as the increased risk of high blood pressure for African Americans, the default assumption has been to see this as innately biological rather than cultural and socio-economic, so that the alternatives aren’t carefully checked. The problem with scientists, Saini says, is that they too often assume they are above racism and so fail to engage with the history, politics and lived experience of race.” This makes scientists (amongst other ‘professions’) complicit in #InstitutionalRacism as it shapes how ideas, notions of what is knowledge (clearly not ‘lived experience’ and resources are prioritised, and policies are designed and enacted through a particular exclusive rather than inclusive lens.

Saini explains: “Genetics has also given racists a new place to claim validation of what they want: proof of their superiority.” By way of example, last year after I posted on Face Book two excellent BBC videos showing how casual ‘othering’ occurs when white people invariably ask a person of colour “Where are you from?”. [I will return to what happened after I posted the BBC video]. An ‘innocent’ question at face value which what could initially be interpreted as natural human curiosity and desire to connect.

However, it’s a question that has to be reflected on when it is too often posed on a selective basis of skin colour (to darker skinned people) by an invariably white questioners. In the BBC video it’s the recruitment interviewer asking this of an Asian female candidate. However, it’s when the first, second and then third answers (such as “I was born in UK, xyz hospital to be precise; or my parents were born in Yorkshire, etc)” are deemed not to be the ‘correct’ answers that the selective questioning persists so that the original neutral premise reveals an underlying racial intent to make the both the original and persistent questioning problematic. The bottom-line question is: “No, where are you and your people really from? “ . The questioner is finally satisfied with a sense of relief once the answer comes when the dark skinned person twigs or gives up trying to avoid answering the hidden question: “Oh, my grandparents were born in India, Pakistan, Uganda, etc.” [aka that’s why I am brown and here as the #FirstOnlyLast]. The sigh of relief comes because the white person was spared the discomfort of acknowledging they do after all notice skin colour of the brown person (not their own), despite assertions of ‘colour blindness’, to mask their real unasked question, namely: “Why are you, as a brown person here ( in a country of indigenously white skinned people)?”.  Of course, if they read their shared world history they would know “We are here, because you were there” as famously written by the late ‘Siva’ (Ambalavener Sivandan, Director of Institute of Race Relations – a native from Sri Lanka, formally named by the British colonial powers, as Ceylon). Siva was tireless in his pursuit to explain the connections between class, race, imperialism and colonialism. Supported by that perceived to be ‘dangerous’ concept coined 30 years ago: #Intersectionality by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Regardless of intent, the effect of such selective and persistent questioning is invariably one of ‘othering’ based on the inference the darker skinned person does not naturally belong and must explain their origins and lineage so they cannot claim native belonging rights which is assumed of white skinned people who have no accent or anglicised name that gives them away.

The BBC video used a ‘light touch approach’ to illustrate the pain ‘othering’ causes to #BAME people. After posting the video, a white ex-NHS #HR colleague who had emigrated to #NZ some 18 years ago randomly shared in response to the post “I had my DNA tested and I am definitely from Europe!” (aka 100% white!) – no sharing of insights about ‘othering’ were forthcoming such was the blind privilege of not having to explain your origins repeatedly on sight or sound. She made this response having 18 years ago emigrated to New Zealand after having been embroiled for her part in a disgracefully mis-handled #NHS race discrimination case that had profound consequences for the victim and me as the appeal hearing advisor. I was curious to know how she had reflected on her part, but she refused then and now to discuss it. I asked myself what her motive was to firstly, undergo a DNA test (after leaving Europe for a former colony where brown people were decimated, and personally having historical links to Ireland). Secondly, why disclose it to me as a BAME in the context of a BBC video to illustrate the effects of ‘othering’ of people of colour (and a second video what it might be like if the boot was on the other foot – which also received no comment from her) and in the context of the race discrimination case – so it remains unfinished business, brushed under the carpet to happen again and again as we see in the NHS and other sectors who look to it as the biggest employer in Europe to be a model employer.

Make what you will of the ex-HR colleague needing to share her DNA results in the way she did and refusing to discuss her part in race discrimination case and racism per se. She like many readily agree in the abstract to the wickedness of racism but never if it is brought close to home. Answers on a post card please as I am genuinely interested to know the explanation.

I hope you have found this article has broadened your understanding, triggered your curiosity and it was not been too ‘uncomfortable’ so you still feel encouraged to continue exploring the theme of the origins of racism and why it persists. BAME have had to develop the resilience, ‘thick skin’ if you like, to talk about racism because they don’t have the luxury not to. Their skin colour is the basis for their less favourable treatment including acts of omission. This is evidenced by mountains of racial disparity data which is readily available to those who see being anti-racists as a proactive moral duty not a passive bystander who says under their breath ‘nothing to do with me’ – ‘it’s just wallpaper I walk past it’; far too busy.

My only wish is, you do not place the burden of dismantling #InstitutationalRacism on the shoulders of a few, especially BAME; that you exercise some humility in appreciating the way you experience the world and organisational policies and practices is not the way others different to you in visible and non-visible ways experience them regardless of ‘good’ intentions; that you reach out with empathy and open mindedness to have honest conversations and not run away when things get a little ‘uncomfortable’ when you are prompted to revaluate your individual and collective group memberships’ beliefs and assumptions.

Remember we are all on a journey and some of us need to take personal accountability for catching up – it’s not rocket science, but it is more complex that wading in blindly without having read and reflected that you have an automatic licence, with little or no lived experience of racism to wade into this space to tell BAME what is or what is not racism. This is something we see in the media on a ritually daily basis ask any BAME with a public profile how much resilience they have to have to continuing doing their jobs despite the constant undermining (Afua Hirsh, David Lammy, Dawn Butler, Diane Abbott, Sadiq Khan, and the multiple examples of ordinary citizens who have been effected by #BrexitRacism).

Every time one person faces racism (and many more cases go unreported), it has a psychological ripple effect on others like them. The #MentalHealth and #Wellbeing effects of racism are totally under-estimated and misunderstood – it’s like death by a thousand cuts when also faced with a culture of disbelief.

Racism de-humanises both the victim and perpetrator so we need to see this as a joint responsibility to work on it together, every day to save each other from this inherited legacy of privilege and disadvantage. Racism does not take a summer holiday. Nevertheless, enjoy the sunshine and smile at your fellow citizens as you count your blessings.

Author: Safia Boot – Founder Respect at Work Limited

Originally Published Linkedin: 25 July 2019

Re-published: 17 August 2019


Follow me on Twitter: @respectatworkuk




Former NHS trust manager awarded £1m for race discrimination – Guardian



‘Unconscious bias’ in internal inquiry led to unfair dismissal of black worker, tribunal found – Spells the need to improve the quality of Workplace Race Investigations

So, screams yet another report of a failed investigation as reported by Haroon Siddique for the Guardian


  • “The tribunal said his evidence, as a black man of Caribbean origin, was treated with unwarranted distrust and disbelief. By contrast, the tribunal found him to be an honest witness, while identifying numerous inconsistencies and flaws in the opposing evidence.” 
  • Mr. Hastings, IT Manager of Kings College hospital NHS Trust, told the Guardian: “It was very hurtful but what was even more hurtful was the treatment from the organisation I’d been with for nearly 19 years. I was devastated. Each part of the process left me even more helpless. This whole thing over three years has taken a tremendous toll on my physical and mental health. It was totally unnecessary.”

This case is just the tip of the iceberg as an example of the disparity in the treatment of BME people across all sectors. It’s only a few cases that ever make the headlines or reach the litigation stage, that is not because of lack of merit but the inherent flaws that get built into them. Many complainants report suffering in silence or being required to turn the other cheek. Over time this creates a psychological toll for BME staff, especially those who find themselves in professions and occupations where they are isolated as the one, the only and often the last of their kind to be employed in a white space. It’s hard enough to get a foot in the door to a decision maker role or a profession but easy to have the rug pulled from beneath your feet.

Our much beloved NHS is a major employer of BME staff, yet it and other organisations need to seriously up their standard of investigations into allegations of racial discrimination. The same applies to increasing the skills to deal sensitively with such concerns at the informal stage before matters escalate. Currently, there is a deficit in the capability of the homogenous HR and Leadership community to comprehend the lived experience of BME employees that is not their own experience of working in the same organisation. Whilst mediation could potentially assist such cases, the empirical evidence is lacking despite some providers treating it as a silver bullet for all employee disputes, even race discrimination without setting out the limitations of mediation. Especially in the context of 97% of mediators being white and the issue of individualising such a sensitive matter and thereby concealing the structural and systematic nature of discrimination and the collective accountability for addressing it.

As someone who has been involved in seeing racial allegations all the way from the informal to formal stages from different perspectives; I feel there is a need to review our approach with honesty, however, uncomfortable this may be. The simple truth is more HR practitioners and so called ‘inclusive’leaders need to get comfortable with discomfort, as has been demanded of their BME colleagues for decades.

Being inclusive leaders or advisors to such leaders is more than an intellectual exercise in purporting to be aligned to the Diversity and Inclusion agenda for PR purpose. You need to be mindful of both your macro and micro interventions and to listen to a perspective that is different to yours. It takes skill to listen like you are wrong. Repetitive experience of listening in this is way is the only way to build the resilience needed to have difficult conversations with resisters as well as complainants, so you can develop a momentum to change the daily lived experience of BME people.

Voluntary appeals and platitudes about being champions of Diversity and Inclusion; such as prematurely rushing to accept the numerous D&I Awards on offer while the reported lived experience of BME’s does not change except for a few exceptions is starting to ring hollow.

These cases of race discrimination do not arise without reference to a wider societal and historical context. When you have politicians like Amber Rudd on her return to the fold dismissing the recent UN report about the negative impact of austerity and levels of poverty in the UK, because she does not like the ‘tone’ of the report, you know we have a systemic problem of denial, especially in relation to people with disabilities, women and BME communities. This is despite PM Theresa May’s launch in 2017 of her racial disparity website providing statistical evidence to her own government departments to do better. Our public institutions should be beacons for the private sector.

It’s a cop out to keep referring to failures as ‘unconscious bias’ or‘complexity’ as an excuse for why solutions are not achievable ‘overnight’.The ‘overnight’ claim is frequently touted as the flag of the privileged to placate their peer group in code that the issue is being kicked into the long grass. Hence, here we are still talking about race fifty years after the original anti-discrimination legislation was enacted. The solutions to racial disparity and the inequality experienced by other groups are in fact very simple – just replicate what you are already doing for the privileged – no ‘special treatment’ is required nor being asked for as is often assumed when complaints are raised.

Ultimately, HR Advisors and leadership need to become comfortable dealing with discomfort about themselves and their organisations. Stop hiding behind the PR platitudes – people are intelligent enough to read between the lines and behind the spin. Individuals never forget the feelings generated by mistreatment related to matters of identity, long after they have tried to forget the details. That’s because it goes to the heart of their very being and belonging.

The privilege of being believed and given empathy because someone looks and sounds like you are a real advantages but a serious impediment when it is denied to those different from the norm comparator group. There is increasing doubt this is ‘unconscious’. Sadly, it is masked by learnt socially desirable responses and defensive deflection tactics. We need to recognise when we and others are deploying these tactics and call them out, so we can be actively mindful of their corrosive effect, regardless of our intentions.

Too often complainants of racial discrimination are met with a culture of disbelief rather than in a spirit of openness and curiosity. We claim we are a ‘learning organisation’ but fail to display this in times of crises when we simply default to our base ‘fight or flight’ instincts. This happens not just at an individual level but also at a collective level as evidenced by the numerous empirical studies of racial disparity in treatment researched by Professor Kalwant Bhopal in the Higher Education Sector and Dr Roger Kline in the NHS along with many other reliable sources who have given their pound of flesh to gather the data under peer scrutiny. In fact, it is surprising we are still stuck in generating more and more data that racial disparity even exists. This can only be because there is still a strong body of resistance to the idea that we are not yet living in a post-racial era. Perhaps facts will never convince some people?

Even the mild-mannered, much loved ‘one of our own’, ‘British’ comedians, Lenny Henry is finding it difficult to disguise his ‘impatience’ for change in the TV/Media and Entertainment sector with a forced smile so as not to offend his white TV interviewer or sound like the‘Angry black man or woman’. 

‘#WhiteFragility’has been aptly described by the Author, Robin DiAngelo and is worthy of a read as is ‘Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People about Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge and many other writers of this genre. Perhaps in the case of Robin DiAngela’s book, seeing privilege from someone who accepts her privilege with great honesty might resonate more than a black voice saying it and risk being dismissed with: ‘But you would say that, wouldn’t you ‘or ‘Oh no, not identity politics, again!”  When ‘identity’serves the dominant group to maintain its superior position in terms of life outcomes and access to resources it seems to be acceptable. However, when those who are marginalised by their identity (in all its multi-dimensional ways) to complain they are being treated less favourably because of their identity, it is dismissed as ‘identity politics’. This begs the question, why is the pursuit of equality of access to resources to ensure the same life chances more objectionable and offensive than the desire to protect one’s own self-interest using ‘Identity’ in reverse?

The NHS and other organisations need to seriously improve their standard of investigations into racial allegations as well as how they deal with them at the informal stage.

Here are some highlights of some of the essential ingredients for the formal stage based on my experience of being involved during the full continuum of dealing with allegations of discrimination:

  • Seeking early opportunities to neutrally assess if the concerns can be dealt with via alternative dispute resolution; but proceeding to formal investigation if it’s appropriate in the circumstances and the complainant wants to go down this route.
  • Consider the way investigations are commissioned/framed and how the organisation interfaces with the investigator subsequently to avoid interference to ensure the neutrality of the investigation.
  • Be mindful of the way the organisations commissioning an investigator via an outsourced third-party organisation can create the risk or impression of collusion behind the scenes due to back-door access to the investigator via the ‘Client/Case Manager’ who often has a sales skill set not an investigator background
  • Ensue there is a full audit trail of all communications and decisions relating to the investigation and be prepared for full disclosure in due course.
  • Assess and re-assess risks to the parties’ wellbeing and neutrality of the investigation throughout
  • Sign-post the parties to separate sources of support and counselling
  • Allow the investigator the freedom to set appropriate terms of reference to ensure proper lines of enquiry and to avoid the de-scoping and fragmentation of allegations and supporting incidents without transparent and fair criteria being applied.
  • The terms of reference should make clear the roles of the different parties and the methodology that will be used to gather relevant information to support or refute the allegations in order to make findings of fact to reach balanced conclusions.
  • Consider the suitability of who is appointed to investigate, namely someone trained/experienced specifically in investigations involving race and its intersectionality with other factors such as gender from an independent perspective. Too many delays occur because organisations claim they don’t know anyone suitable who has not already been involved in the matter or because they deem race or sex discrimination can be investigated by anyone with a managerial perspective as a badge of assumed objectivity.
  • The investigator must be able to navigate and explore beyond the formal procedures to observe the informal practices and rituals all parties engage in during such alleged treatment and the way in which they respond to allegations. Often a Complainant’s original treatment is compounded by events during the investigation and hearing process and the way policies and procedures are enacted regardless of the zero-tolerance and normative type statements contained in Dignity at Work Policies and organisational value statements. A ‘Should’ statement does not mean it ‘Is’ so.
  • Ensuring the Investigator is using a robust and transparent methodology to conduct the investigation.
  • Ensuring the investigator keeps all parties informed of progress and responds carefully to case management issues as they arise, including re-directing matters that should be for the organisation to deal with as part of maintaining the ongoing employment relationship.
  • Understanding the importance of the investigator’s role in creating an agreed Summary of Allegations (SOA) of the complex history of the supporting incidents and allegations; The SOA becomes a clear list of the alleged pattern of treatment to be investigated. This also enables any matters outside the scope to be captured in a transparent way for subsequent scrutiny.
  • Using the SOA as a guide to then gather relevant information via interviews and disclosure of documents.
  • Avoid ambushing the Respondent at interview with questions about complex and historical matters without prior disclosure of the SOA. When a process is unfair to the Respondent it becomes ultimately unfair to the Complainant, too.
  • The organisation should facilitate the investigator’s access to full disclosure of all relevant information and witnesses.
  • Understanding how to assess the quality of conflicting evidence to make fair, balanced findings of fact to enable the reaching of appropriate conclusions and inferences of racial discrimination; bias and undertone against comparator treatment (actual or hypothetical)
  • Capturing the reported impact of the alleged treatment
  • Understand the importance of subsequently conducting fair internal hearings to enable the reaching of fair and balanced outcomes based on the investigation report or further enquiries, if appropriate.
  • Managing appropriate disclosure of the investigation report and supporting documents to the parties. This should ensure fair representation of their responses, challenges and formal appeals. When appeals simply ‘rubber stamp’ an earlier decision without making transparent how either was reached it is a sure way to ensure the matter proceeds to an ET claim. Even if such a claim turns out to be misconceived, it is often due to the inclusion of elements that are essentially a breach the ‘Psychological Contract’. However, the failure to deal with such matters via internal processes is a missed opportunity given internal processes have greater scope to achieve wider resolution outcomes. Parties often fail to appreciate that litigation has its limitations as to what it can deal with.
  • Ensure there is a transparent methodology, criteria and case for assessing whether any allegations have been made maliciously or vexatiously. The standard should be high to avoid turning the tables on the Complainant or creating a victimisation claim.

Failure to follow the basic principles of fair investigations simply adds insult to injury to Complainants and Respondents. A poor investigation stops organisational learning about how to dismantle structural and cultural barriers that perpetuate racial disparity in both representation (Diversity) and treatment (Inclusion). Unless we can significantly improve the standard of investigations and skilfully deal with racial concerns at the informal stage, we will simply keep repeating costly mistakes in investigations and perpetuate less favourable treatment of any marginalised group through discrimination.

I expect levels of racial allegations and ET claims for racial discrimination to increase in this Brexit/austerity era. This is due to the failure of our politicians and leaders to provide a positive case by personal example and the failure to dismantle structural barriers that create conditions for scape-goating immigrants and foreigners to deflect attention from their own failures. The next generation of BME are increasingly more ‘woke’ to the historical and current factors that perpetuate racism; accordingly, they are less willing to be as tolerate and silent as their parents and grand-parents who arrived in the 1950’s to 1970’s.

I would urge employers to audit their processes and practices from the point of view of the lived experience of all the parties involved in such disputes to get a full 360-degree view of the dynamics, rituals and practices that get deployed. When we better understand our own and others’ contexts, we are better able to change the narrative in a meaningful way for all parties in a progressive manner.

#NHS #Racism #Mediation #FirstOnlyLast #WorkplaceInvestigations #DiversityInclusion #WhiteFragility #Immigration #Immigration #EmploymentTribunals #HR #Respect @KalwantBhopal @rogerkline @LennyHenry @renireni

Author: Safia Boot

Twitter: @respectatworkuk


© Respect at Work Limited

First published 24-27 November 2018 Linkedin





BREAKING NEWS: Foster Carers vote to Unionise! — Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

Many thanks to all the attendees at this morning’s packed open meeting for foster carers in Parliament! There was so much energy in the room and so little time to get through all the talking points! The meeting was organised to cover just a few key objectives: 1. to decide what the commonly regarded challenges […]

via BREAKING NEWS: Foster Carers vote to Unionise! — Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

The ‘They’ and ‘Us’ of the ‘Hard to Reach Groups’

'Hard to Reach Groups'

‘Hard to Reach Groups’

Upon hearing frequent references to the term ‘The Hard to Reach Groups’ in organisational Diversity & Inclusion literature, organisational policy documents and more recently at a seminar on Women in Sports. I was prompted to reflect on why the repeated use of this term jars with me as an ethnic minority female who has managed to eventually overcome some of the barriers to progressing within a largely female, white profession (Human Resources).  This is the case for many professions and there are parallel issues for women and in particular BME women (and men) but in particular Muslim Women gaining access to certain professions and employment generally (the most visible of ethnic minority group due to covering of their heads – although there is diversity of practice even in this). Gaining access to certain sectors for example Sports and technology are particular challenges, although their use of technology as evidenced by the ‘Arab Spring’ is giving them a new voice to initiate change in the way they wish to be portrayed and understood.  I therefore ask readers to reflect on what unconsciously, be it well intentioned, this phrase reveals about those who utter the phrase rather than those to whom it refers. This is necessary if we are to fully capitalize on the huge potential for instance that Sports has to bring communities together and create wealth and wellbeing.

Those who invariably use the term ‘Hard to Reach Groups’ in everyday language and numerous strategy documents are invariably members of the homogenous, dominant group occupying positions of leadership, decision-making and influence as advisers.  The subject group is made up of a number of sub-sets:  young mums, students, women in and out of work, school leavers, NEETs, at risk women, Muslim women and females of varying ages and abilities.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘They and We’ illustrates the need to be mindful that everyone is ‘normal’ in their own eyes or we will not be able to understand them and interact with them. The fact is ‘They’ don’t think we’re normal either. We assume ‘They’ perceive and experience the world the same as we do and accordingly we design systems, processes, policies, interventions and language that reflects us. Which is what the word assume can be broken down into: I assume on the basis of me: ‘Ass-U-Me’.

Given the aspiration is to increase participation in sports, wider employment and representation in positions of leadership and influence.   The effect of using the well worn phrase ‘Hard to Reach Groups’ is to alienate those who are under-represented by the underlying assumption that it is ‘They’ who are a problem by being so damn ‘Hard to Reach’.  The assumption about ourselves is that we are by implication ‘easy to reach’, accessible and approachable.  This further leads to counter justifications for the lack of measurable and visible progress such as: they don’t apply for the jobs or opportunities to participate; they lack the skills, qualifications and experience to hold positions (paid or voluntary) and we (allegedly) only ever appoint on the basis of merit, and so forth. From the perspective of ‘They’ the rationale is: ‘We don’t feel listened to, so what’s the point?’; ‘there’s hardly anyone like me involved’ so I won’t feel welcome or included in the important decisions and so forth.  It therefore becomes an issue of the need to be open to the concept of unconscious bias and increasing our own self-awareness – whether you are ‘They’ or ‘Us’ it is important to consider what has shaped our thinking and behavior, what privileges we enjoy and assume others have access to that enables us to have the opportunity to participate and reach our potential but might prevent others from doing the same.

My plea is to ditch this phrase and focus instead on the issue of addressing under-representation.  It would enable us to think more creatively in seeking to engage with people who are under-represented for a variety of intrinsic (self-beliefs) and extrinsic (structural) reasons rather than lumping them together and labelling them as  the ‘Hard to Reach Group’. Turn the question on yourself and ask what could you do to make yourself ‘easier to reach’, or even better to reach out proactively to engage with others different from you. We need to creatively develop solutions in collaboration with those people who are under-represented so there is joint ownership of the solutions and not inhibit our thinking and actions by labelling and blaming those who are not ‘US’.

Naturally, if any of this resonates with you I would be happy to engage further with you!

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