Arham: when employees experience racism

Arham experiences discrimination and bullying at work because of cultural and religious reasons.


Arham started working as a plumbing apprentice 3 months ago. He's good at his job, making steady progress and gets along well with the whole team. As his boss, you're pretty happy with how it's all going.

Every Friday at midday, Arham takes his lunch break to pray in a quiet spot in the office. It doesn't impact work or the others and Arham mentioned it when he was hired. He's open about being a Muslim. The others at work know about his faith and weekly Friday prayer.

Why is Arham's
story important?

Everyone should feel safe and comfortable bringing their sense of self and background to work.

With the changing nature of workplaces, supporting and managing personal, emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs and beliefs is an obligation of the employer. Employers need to ensure they cater to employees spiritual and religious requests to the best of their ability through cultural awareness training and policies around safe practice of culture and religion.

Discrimination and bullying at work can create a poor workplace and have knock on effects.

It can start as conflict between workers, and result in an unsafe workplace culture, a loss of productivity and a poor workplace reputation. This can mean a loss of job applications and new work contracts.

Even if you do not witness an incident, It is best to handle it as soon as you are aware about it.

A situation that results in ongoing bullying can open a company up to a discrimination claim with the Equal Opportunity Commission. The immediacy in which you handle an issue also signals to your team the importance your business places on a safe workplace and the zero tolerance level for bullying and discrimination.

It is also important to note, there is not always an easy solution or a solution that results in the best outcome for everybody.

Bullying can often result in termination of the offender. However with training and policies, you can create an environment that makes it clear that there's no place for discrimination at work.

What can you do?

Ensure you have a clear Discrimination and Bullying policy at your workplace. Policy and training makes it clear to your workplace what is acceptable behaviour and why it is unacceptable to discriminate against someone.

If you already have a policy, it is worth reviewing and refreshing with your workers.

See relevant policy documents you can implement at your workplace here:

Make sure the policy you have and the values you want for your business are part of your induction process for new employees.

See the following documents and review how you share the importance of an inclusivity to new workers.

Do not wait for an issues to happen to know what you would do. Anticipate what you would say if a bullying or discrimination scenario happened at your workplace. It's worth thinking about how you would approach the situation as well as where you would conduct conversations.

Refer to our C.L.E.A.R Scripts and scenarios on how to best approach various workplace issues.

Are you a

Supervisor or Manager?Young Employee?