Within bartlett mitchell we have a zero tolerance to discrimination in any form. To mark Zero Discrimination Day, we have spoken to members to the #bmFamily💜💚 about their experiences of discrimination outside of bartlett mitchell and how we can ensure that everyone is treated fairly and as an individual. Read their stories below.
At bartlett mitchell, our diversity & inclusion steering committee continually drive our efforts centered around a culture of both inclusion and sense of belonging.
Our D&I mission statement is at the core of what we do as we progress on our journey to ensure that everyone feels they are able to be the best version of themselves whilst bringing their whole self to work each day.
Our mission statement:
“To celebrate the diversity within our #bmFamily💜💚, through an agreed strategic approach, taking steps to ensure we continue to have a diverse workforce and that our teams from every background benefit from an inclusive culture that promotes opportunity for all”
Read our teams short stories here:
The denotation or dictionary meaning of the word discrimination means the unjust of prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, disability or sexual orientation.
At some stage in our lives we all face discrimination or some kind of unconscious bias. I have learnt to bat it with self- deprecating humour, but it does over time leave you with deep seated insecurities.
Growing up in a privileged background in India while I was aware I looked different, I never realised how different I was until I started working. Every interview, every introduction, the managers would ask me if I understood Hindi, even though I was born, brought up and educated in India. My CV clearly stated my educational qualifications. I always felt different and somehow excluded, it was reverse racism at its best.
And then I moved to England, my broad Indian accent and unconscious characteristic of shaking of my head was the butt on many occasions for jokes for my colleagues. But what I found amusing would be how people I worked with would express surprise, ‘oh your English is so fluent’, ‘your vocabulary is so extensive’ was it a compliment or an insult? And then there were the amusing times when people would speak to me slowly, enunciating each word slowly, like I am stupid not foreign.
Returning From Maternity Leave
Today is a day I feel extremely passionate about. As a result, I felt compelled to share my story of experiencing discrimination.
When it came to actioning pen to paper, I realised how hard it is to be vulnerable around this subject.
The reason I have shared this with you is to empathise the difficulties around being a victim of discrimination and how important it is to speak out, ask questions and seek support.
If you are a person quick with words, please think about the impact of them. Please note this experience is one from a previous employer and not bartlett mitchell.
‘I think you should just get a part time job seeing as you’re a new mum.’
Now you’re thinking ‘what the hell! That’s not ok.’ Followed on by ‘ok, so how much were you underperforming for him to say that?’ There is nothing wrong with being curious as there are always two sides to every story.
Regardless of the answer, I suppose the biggest question you should be asking, ‘Is this an acceptable way to talk to a team member?’
This was said to me by my manager after 4 months in my role after returning from maternity following on from a succession of demeaning comments and unnecessary behaviour. It made me question myself as a manager and all the positive impacts I had made. At least I thought I had made!
Sharing this with you brings up all sorts of emotions and questions.
- If I share this with you will you judge me on his perception or his comment?
- Do I ruin my good reputation by sharing with you what this manager’s thoughts were?
- Have I now put myself as a victim? (something I definitely don’t want to do)
- There are two sides to every story, what gives me the right to share this little snippet?
- Am I over reacting?
I didn’t acknowledge any form of discrimination or bullying initially. My first reaction to his attitude towards me was, maybe I deserved this level of honesty? I then sat down and asked myself these questions:
- Is what he is saying a fact?
- Are his mannerisms acceptable from a manager/leader?
- On every encounter, was it acceptable for him to make me feel inferior and incapable?
- Would I treat any of my team the way he treated me?
The answer to these questions is a solid NO.
For me this was when I was confident that a statement that refers to my personal position is totally irrelevant. It is not OK for anybody to make you feel belittled. Any form of bullying or discrimination is NOT OK. Once you believe in people, support them and coach them, you get to witness them shape into the best version of themselves. Be that person.
Don’t be afraid to speak up or reach out.
While unconscious bias cannot necessarily be controlled, steps can be taken to minimise its impact in the workforce. Companies need to be proactive in attracting candidates of all ages, as well as creating a more inclusive workforce. Here are just a few steps companies can take:
- Implement anonymous or blind recruitment
- Make sure ageism is part of any upcoming diversity training
- Introduce mentoring schemes
We celebrate women at bartlett mitchell with our annual inspiring women’s awards and our #SheCooks chef initiative. When I started out as a chef in the early 90’s these types of programmes were unheard off and the kitchen was quite a tough place for women… What we do as a company shows how far we have come and we should be very proud however discrimination against women and girls still exists. Although some countries have made laudable progress towards greater gender equality, laws that discriminate against women and girls remain in force, while laws that uphold women’s basic rights and protect them against harm and unequal treatment are far from the norm.
What can we do?? Show our support for zero discrimination against women not just today but every day.
Growing up I never really considered myself as different, but as I grew and got to know myself I realised that I was different compared to many of my friends.
I battled with myself for a number of years before coming out to my family and friends at the age of 17 and was embraced by all for who I am.
It made me realise that my fears were based on things that most people take for granted. The fear of rejection by those who I loved most. The fear of being discriminated against for just being me!
Over the years I have faced discrimination in different forms and have learnt valuable life lessons myself. The spoken word is a powerful tool and more so than most people realise. What can seem as harmless banter or a passing comment can in fact be deeply impactful to someone else.
Thankfully we live in a world that is far more accepting of diversity however for those on their own ‘coming out’ journey are still faced with the same challenges as I faced when growing up.
Together let’s make a difference
So, let us take a moment on Zero Discrimination Day to think about how things we say or do may sow a seed of hurt. Don’t judge people by the colour of their skin, how they speak or look. Remember to treat each person as an individual, with respect and above all else, be kind.