Tackling discrimination at work

How we support all our members to create fair workplaces

Group of multi cultural optometrists

Optical businesses benefit immensely from the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their team members. Diversity of background and experience brings diversity of ideas and talent. It also reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.

All employees have a right to be treated fairly and to feel safe at work. That includes feeling safe from unfair discrimination and harassment.  

Employers have a moral as well as a legal duty to ensure that everyone is treated in a fair, respectful and non-discriminatory way. This means fostering a fair and safe working environment, and taking all reasonable measures to protect employees from harassment, abuse or discrimination.

This duty can encompass discrimination from customers, clients, patients, colleagues and contractors as well as from managers or as a result of the organisation’s own policies. 

Employers have a responsibility to take preventative steps to ensure discrimination and harassment do not occur and to act if they see, or are notified of, any issue or concern.

Whether discrimination is intentional should not be relevant to the action an employer takes. Regardless of the motive, making offensive comments about a person’s appearance, asking questions about a person because of their skin colour or physical disabilities or making offensive or abusive comments, have the potential to amount to less favourable treatment amounting to discrimination and/or harassment. 

Asking questions about someone’s personal life may also amount to sexual harassment, as could any form of physical contact.

Our commitment

The AOP is committed to:

  • Supporting our employer members to create safe working environments in which employees are protected from discrimination
  • Supporting our employee members if they are subject to abuse, harassment or discrimination 

We know that many people working in the sector have experienced racist abuse or discrimination. We are committed to supporting our members facing such situations.

Our web pages provide advice and information for both employers and employees and explain how to get support on any issues you are dealing with.

You will also find a range of other resources to support you in doing the right thing.

Member input

We are grateful to the AOP members who have contributed information and ideas to this work, including Hamza Mussa, and Naveed Butt and his colleagues, whose ideas led to the creation of the Anti-racism and equality team.

We welcome comments, experiences and more ideas. You can share these on the AOP Community or email our Anti-racism and equality team at [email protected].