Macmillan ‘profoundly sorry’ after report finds racist and ableist discrimination claims ‘ignored’

20 Jun 2022 News

An investigation into discrimination faced by disabled and ethnically diverse employees at Macmillan Cancer Support found a “significant number” of reported incidents at the charity “appear to have been ignored or actively buried”.

Seen by the Times, the internal report said staff described a “systematically racist and ableist” culture at the charity, with reported incidents including bullying and discriminatory comments.

Staff told the Social Justice Collective, the external agency which conducted the investigation, that these discriminatory incidents were often “downplayed, ignored or deliberately ‘brushed under the carpet’” by HR staff, senior leaders and line managers.

According to the Times, the report said: “In a significant number of cases reported incidents appear to have been ignored or actively buried.

“As a result, there is a deep-seated lack of trust in reporting processes and incident handling. There are also examples of staff being discouraged, manipulated or pressured into not pursuing formal complaints or grievances.”

And it said many staff had suffered “acutely oppressive and painful experiences”, and that these had negatively affected their mental health and wellbeing.

Charity ‘profoundly sorry’

Macmillan said the report made “painful reading” and said it was “profoundly sorry that anyone has ever suffered a distressing or harmful experience” at the charity.

Steven McIntosh, the charity’s executive director of advocacy and communications, thanked the staff who shared their discriminatory experiences with the inquiry and vowed to work with them to “ensure that we take the right steps in response”.

“We are committed to making sure their strength in speaking up will help us make the changes needed to move us forwards,” he said.

“The findings of this report serve as a powerful and humbling demonstration of how much more we have to do in order to support our colleagues who identify as disabled and/or ethnically diverse, and we are determined to do so.

“We know we have fallen short both in culture and processes, and we will urgently address this to ensure that everyone at Macmillan feels valued and safe.”

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