Asians around the world speak out about discrimination in the workplace
Published June 7, 2021
It’s not just on the streets and not just in the United States.
In Australia, in a survey last October, 66.4% of Asian-Australian respondents said they experienced discrimination in the workplace, an increase of nearly 15% in six months. The pandemic has worsened dramatically in the country during this time, with coronavirus cases rising from 4,862 to 27,109 between last April and October, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Asian Australians also suffered a disproportionate decline in working hours last spring, which, according to researchers at the Australian National University, who carried out the study, was “more than twice as large” for the rest of the population. They noted that there were “a number of possible explanations” for inequality, including “that discrimination against Asian Australians in the workplace may have had an impact”.
In the UK, the employment rate of Chinese people fell 4.6% from Q1 to Q2 2020 – almost three times more than other ethnic groups, according to government figures.
“It is likely that the high representation of the Chinese and East Asians in badly affected sectors such as the hospitality industry is one of them, but direct employer discrimination can also play a role,” said Frances O’Grady, general secretary of Trades Union Congress, a British union coalition, told CNN Business.
The coronavirus outbreak was first spotted in China last year, leading some politicians to blame the country for the crisis. Victims and community groups say this has encouraged more people to show hostility towards those believed to be of Asian – and especially Chinese – descent.
CNN Business spoke to 38 employees in 11 countries who reported having experienced or experienced prejudice in various ways, from explicit harassment to subtle microaggression, since the pandemic began.
They are of various Asian ethnicities, including Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos.
Here are 11 of their stories.
CNN Business has spoken to dozens from people all over the world.
Read, see or hear some of their experiences of racial discrimination in the workplace.