ABDO calls for action on discrimination and harassment

ABDO is calling for action to end discrimination and harassment in the optical industry in response to a survey of members.

The survey has demonstrated that harassment and discrimination is present to an unacceptable level within the industry. ABDO’s key concerns include the fact that 21 per cent of respondents did not know whether their company had discrimination or harassment policies – and 12 per cent reported that their companies did not have such policies.

Forty-seven per cent of women who responded reported prejudice on grounds of gender ‘sometimes’, ‘a lot of the time’ or ‘almost all of the time’; 32 per cent reported prejudice on grounds of age ‘sometimes’, ‘a lot of the time’ or ‘almost all of the time’; and 24 per cent reported prejudice on grounds of race ‘sometimes’, ‘a lot of the time’ or ‘almost all of the time’.

ABDO president, Jo Holmes, said: “I am shocked and dismayed by the results of this survey. It is everyone’s duty to promote and practise equality, inclusion and to respect diversity. It shows that our members are on the receiving end of prejudiced behaviour at work, which is unacceptable.

“Whilst it is the case that some individuals may be unaware of their prejudice or are unconsciously biased, we must do our best to raise awareness and continue to support our members. What is worse is that many of those who completed the survey commented that they had not reported their concerns, either because they felt nothing would be done, or because they feared it might make things worse. We need to offer our support to all our colleagues who are experiencing this and very much make this a situation of the past.”

ABDO is calling on employers to highlight their policies on discrimination and harassment, and improve training for managers on handling complaints about discrimination and harassment.

ABDO has issued policy guidance here, which offers resources for both employers and employees on what to do in cases of harassment and/or discrimination.

Read the full survey report here.