Incidents were downplayed, report finds
Macmillan has admitted to falling short of standards after employees said its organisational culture is systemically racist and ableist.
Macmillan’s management brought in consultants from the Social Justice Collective after employees had voiced concerns about the working culture at the charity.
Employees told consultants that complaints about mistreatment “were brushed under the carpet” and said that whistleblowers were treated as “vocal troublemakers”.
A report in The Times said one member of staff used the word “P**i” in an online meeting and nobody had raised any concern. Another said that when a Muslim fundraising group had come to visit the offices, a senior staff member had ordered a colleague to “talk to security about these people and make sure they’re checked”.
A disabled staff member said there was a Macmillan slogan about “bringing your whole self to work”, but claimed the charity “doesn’t expect your whole self to be anything other than an able-bodied, straight white man”.
The report said: “Staff described an organisational culture at Macmillan that is systematically racist and ableist. Staff spoke in detail about, and shared examples of, racism and ableism — both overt and covert. Reported behaviours and incidents ranged from discriminatory comments and microaggressions to exclusion and bullying.
“Many staff reported acutely oppressive and painful experiences that had impacted and continue to impact on their mental health and wellbeing.”
Some staff members had taken leave because of their experiences.
“Discriminatory incidents were often described as being downplayed, ignored or deliberately ‘brushed under the carpet’, including by HR, senior leaders and line managers. While many staff spoke about individual allies or positive relationships, Macmillan was frequently described as an oppressive and unsafe environment for minoritised staff to work in, let alone to thrive, feel valued or a true sense of belonging.”
The cancer charity said the report made for “painful reading.”
Steven McIntosh, executive director of advocacy and communications, apologised and said: “We want to sincerely thank those colleagues who recounted their experiences and we share their determination that Macmillan should be a workplace where everyone feels they belong.
“We are committed to making sure their strength in speaking up will help us make the changes needed to move us forwards.
“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 as we continue to deliver on our mission to ensure that everyone can live well with cancer.”