Asian radio: ‘I am an educator and that’s something that actually interests me’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Farhad Khan has said he was written up for breaking into a colleague’s desk A group of Asians from across the world have shared their experiences of discrimination in…

Asian radio: 'I am an educator and that's something that actually interests me'

Image copyright AFP Image caption Farhad Khan has said he was written up for breaking into a colleague’s desk

A group of Asians from across the world have shared their experiences of discrimination in the workplace in a series of heartbreaking stories.

Their stories will be shown on BBC Radio 4’s Asian Network on Thursday, along with supporting materials from Equal Voices .

They are headlined: ‘I’m scared of doing my job properly’

Sharing their stories of prejudice, David Haythornthwaite , a human rights lawyer, says: “This is not black and white, this is grey.”

“This is everyday prejudice.”

‘My job is on the line’

Preet Kaur, an Indian graduate from the UK who works in marketing, tells how she felt her first job interview with a major bank was turned down because she is of Indian extraction.

Image copyright Race Relations Commission Image caption Preet Kaur says there is little understanding of her culture in the workplace

“They gave me a paper about diversity and inclusion and I obviously looked at it with some level of interest,” she tells the programme.

“But my job is on the line.”

“It turns out that this is a historical prejudice of prejudice still present in the banking system, which is very similar to many others in the world of business.”

Preet is currently looking for a job after being handed her marching orders and has written to banks and other companies to raise awareness of prejudice.

“At the end of the day we don’t mind people having to learn in life,” she says.

But Preet has written to Barclays describing the “racist” treatment she was given in her last job interview.

“I have spoken to the person that vetted the applications and this was their reaction.

“They simply said ‘she’s an Indian’ which is not true but it’s very upsetting because it creates this perception that you are somehow less.”

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‘What matters is that you actually do your job’

Farhad Khan, a British teacher who works in Pakistan, tells of being written up for breaking into a colleague’s desk and stealing documents in front of their colleagues.

Image copyright Equal Voices Image caption Farhad Khan had a work break interrupted by a colleague taking her phone out of her pocket

“My colleagues were discussing who the perpetrator was and they told me it was me,” he says.

“Initially I thought it was the issue of climate change. I am an educator and that’s something that really interests me. Then I realised it’s not a climate change problem, it’s a workplace problem.”

Farhad explains that people in Pakistan are very respectful of each other, and by the end of his short meeting he realised there was a problem when he found out what was inside the colleague’s phone.

“Of course I reported it and they actually put me on administrative leave. Now I have the job again, but in a new company. And the level of disparity is worse now.”

Farhad has posted a video on YouTube on learning he’d been written up for the incident.

“It isn’t that bad. What matters is that you actually do your job,” he says.

“I am like anyone else.”

Equal Voices is a community-led initiative funded by the Race Relations Commission, made up of experts in workplace discrimination and women’s rights.

This audio piece is an excerpt from Equal Voices, a 30-minute programme broadcast on Thursday, 13 November, 8:50 BST.

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