If you think you could be experiencing racism and/or intersectional discrimination in the workplace, we encourage you to take the following actions. To support you we give an example of how you could address each action in practice.
Remember, no-one should suffer in silence and you are not alone. Help is available.
1. Look after yourself
Action: Look after your mental and physical health, seeking specialist support if you feel you need it.
How: If you are in a mental health crisis, please use the local pathways for accessing emergency mental health interventions. Consider talking to a trusted friend or family member; or visiting your GP for health and wellbeing advice There may also be a staff wellbeing service within your organisation or, if you live in England, a “Wellbeing Hub” 49. In addition to PSS, other organisations can offer support too:
2. First port of call when raising a concern
Action: The first port of call to raise concerns is usually your line manager. Speak to them if you feel able to. If this is not a safe option, go to Number 3 or you may be able to access your organisations’ policies on bullying, harassment and discrimination on the internal webpage anonymously.
How: Consider explaining the situation in writing and asking for time to speak about your concerns. It would be useful to ask for information on processes and complaints procedures for raising concerns and finding support.
3. Contact HR
Action: Contact your employer’s Human Resources (Workforce or People Department) if you feel able to. If this option does not feel like a safe one, go to number 4.
How: Consider explaining the situation in writing and asking for time to speak about your concerns. You can ask them for your organisations’ policies on bullying, harassment and discrimination. It would be useful to ask for information on processes and complaints procedures for raising concerns and finding support.
4. Seek support when raising your concern
Action: Seek support for speaking up and raising concerns if you feel you need it.
How: If you live in England, you could anonymously contact your organisation’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. Freedom to Speak Up Guardians support workers to speak up when they feel that they are unable to in other ways. The General Medical Council provide comprehensive information on speaking up across the UK. If you don’t feel able to do this safely, go to number 5.
5. Contact your regulatory body
Action: You can contact your regulatory body like the CQC, your professional body and the GMC National Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.
How: You can access more information on the external bodies you can speak up to and how.
6. Connect with others
Action: Connect with others, including through formal networks as well as with friends and family.
How: You could join an NHS affiliated network. A range of networks have been established to support minoritised ethnic staff working within the NHS:
- The NHS Independent BME network
- The NHS Confederation BME Leadership Network and
- The NHSE BME network.
Local NHS networks also exist throughout the UK.
There are a number of diaspora groups and networks who are known to be a tremendous source of emotional support as well as guidance and signposting for doctors who are feeling isolated in their organisation.
7. Seek union support
Action: Seek union support.
How: Remember, if your employer allows racial
discrimination in the workplace, they are
breaking the law. Unions like the BMA
provide comprehensive advice and support for
raising concerns, as well as tailored advice for