Policy Reforms and Research on Racial Bias at the Workplace

November 27 2023BlogNo Comments »


Every social and psychological research has led us to the conclusion that racial discrimination has serious consequences, including negatively impacting mental & physical productivity. However, in the field of socio-scientific study, racial bias at the workplace is found to be somewhat under-researched when compared to other areas like racism in health, the justice system, and education.

The most significant policy reform for racial bias in the USA is Title VII of the Civil Rights. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964, 1991) declared that employers must maintain a workplace free of discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, or national origin. Consequently, organizations took measures to address racial discrimination. Nevertheless, in a 2019 study comparing the USA, UK, Germany, and France, 42% of the US workforce have experienced or witnessed racial discrimination at the workplace [1], the highest in the four countries surveyed.

More recently, The Obama Administration initiated to stimulate diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) enterprise by including underrepresented groups in STEM, such as women, racial/ethnic groups, and persons with disabilities. In October 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) established an Interagency Policy Group to identify measures to increase diversity in the STEM workforce by mitigating the impact of implicit, institutional, or explicit bias.

Executive Summary of the Problem:

The anti-discrimination system created by Title VII bars blatant, intentional discrimination against other workers enforced by EEOC, which is also under-resourced. Initially, federal courts tried expanding the reach of Title VII to more unintentional forms of discrimination but have since undercut the potential impact of that “disparate impact” tool. Our reactive legal and administrative systems put significant barriers and too much burden on their workforce to exterminate employment discrimination on a case-by-case level.

The problem with policy reforms right now is updating the scenarios. With increasing awareness about racial bias and the worldwide anti-discrimination movement, our policymakers need to delve into some solid research and find the direction to draft more practical and effective policy reforms.

Addressing the issues:

With similar organizations on board with us, I suggest and offer assistance in the following recommended practices.

1. Conduct in-depth research and analyze policy reforms concerning racial bias in the workplace. This research is the baseline for policy reforms and can be extended to more areas later.

2. Identify and suggest AI tools to make recruitment processes more transparent.

3.Design and conduct implicit bias training for policymakers and small businesses, which can be a highly effective tool in fighting discriminatory practices.

4.Designed and conducted employee training on “Ally-ship and unconscious bias”.

5.Design a public service BCC campaign to persuade employers and industries to “voluntarily” adopt long-term racially equitable policies and practices.

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