By Nadeya Hussain –
What is the Equality Act?
The Equality Act 2010 is a law that protects you from discrimination. It means that any discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of certain personal characteristics is against the law.
Changes to prevent racial bias and enforce the legislation:
An article published by The Guardian recently revealed how an Airbnb based in the US blocked Oregon hosts from seeing guest names in a bid to stop racial bias. It started as a reaction to a lawsuit filed by three black women from Oregon. They claimed the site racially discriminated against them by using their names and photos. Thus, Airbnb is reducing the visibility of guests’ full names until their booking is confirmed, so you will only see the guests’ initials to prevent racial bias.
Although this has occurred in the United States, it is necessary to reflect how racial discrimination exists across various industries, including online sites.
Why is this an important issue?
Racial discrimination against your name and characteristics is still very evident in the UK, and it is an ongoing issue that needs to be raised. The hiring industry is widely acknowledged as a sector where name discrimination is evident. A few Harvard studies suggested that ethnic names are discriminated against when applying for employment. One study raised the question of ‘Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?’
The researchers found significant racial differences in call back rates in their field experiment. “Applicants with White names need to send about ten resumes to get one call back whereas applicants with African American names need to send about 15 resumes” (p.3).
Despite this study being conducted in 2004, most updated studies confirm that the same phenomenon persists. Researchers from the University of California and the University of Chicago conducted a study in 2021 and sent out more than 83,000 applications with randomly assigned characteristics and names. Study findings indicate that black names on applications make employers less likely to contact you by 2.1 percentage points than distinctively white names.
The Equality Act 2010, which states that you cannot be discriminated against for your race, clearly prohibits this.
- It is necessary to eliminate this by implementing social policies and reviewing your employee’s training program.
- Provide an open forum for discussing changes within the business.
- Be sure to remove applicants’ names and addresses from their resumes during the hiring process to avoid any discrimination.
- Recruit multiple interviewers from different backgrounds/hire multiple employees for offices, receptions, and online platforms.
Have you ever been subjected to racial bias or know someone who has experienced this? If racial discrimination is prevalent, what can businesses do to prevent it? Tell us in the comment section what you think.
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