Hot topic: Anti-Semitism in the workplace, part two

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I find that European culture is in of itself anti-semitic. What is surprising is that articles that have been published about religious observance and employer's obligations are typically aimed at ...


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​Allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party have dominated headlines, with leading British Jewish groups accusing Jeremy Corbyn of turning a blind eye​

In January it was revealed that anti-Semitic assaults had risen by 34% between 2016 and 2017. With fears that anti-Semitism is a growing problem in the UK, is this affecting workplaces? Is it a neglected area of D&I, and what’s HR’s role?

Gideon Schulman, HR director at Pytronot, says:

"Just as Jeremy Corbyn stands accused of inadequate leadership in managing anti-Semitism in his party, employers must equally not fail to take responsibility for the anti-Semitism that exists within workplaces. Organisation heads should set an appropriate tone and culture – championed and guided by HR.

"Most employers comply with legislation, but they should endeavour to do more. As with any relationship, organisations must communicate with their employees to understand and address concerns. This particular issue affects the Jewish community, but other minority groups may be concerned that they’re next.

"Employers should reassure staff there is zero tolerance towards any form of intolerance. HR should introduce support mechanisms such as counselling, and organisations should review their D&I agendas to educate staff on intolerance, including anti-Semitism. This may involve seeking guidance from Jewish community groups such as Community Security Trust or the Board of Deputies of British Jews."

Dave Rich, head of policy for Community Security Trust, says:

"Recent headlines about anti-Semitism are a reminder that one of the many roles of HR is to ensure that employees have a work environment free from bullying and discrimination.

"An HR department with an open door is useful. But more powerful is when line managers with strong people management skills take responsibility for preventing conflicts. A positive and safe workplace culture can be promoted through codes of conduct and enabling people to talk freely about unacceptable behaviours.

"Anti-Semitic attitudes may be the result of ignorance rather than conscious prejudice, in which case education is a helpful part of any disciplinary process. Jewish groups can help with identifying anti-Semitic language and educating against it."

Read the first part of this hot topic

Comments

I find that European culture is in of itself anti-semitic. What is surprising is that articles that have been published about religious observance and employer's obligations are typically aimed at discrimination towards Sabbath observant Jews. Such as ensuring that "you communicate hours being full time and working Friday afternoons are part of that" and that certain jobs "require handshaking between opposite sexes" and there was a landmark EU case involving hair coverings. This list goes on and on... in the U.S., if you are Sabbath observant, an employer is legally required to give that time off, however saying that, I always worked additional hours throughout the week and over non-Jewish holidays. The EU must change its' stance over kosher food, circumcision (male), head coverings and inflexibility in working hours. It also must change it's newly found stance on Holocaust denial before any real changes can be felt. I am an HR Manager and I certainly do not tolerate ANY discriminatory behaviour whatsoever. I also am very flexible with employee's needs over Ramadan, pilgrimages and other such religious observance.


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