What is race discrimination?

Race discrimination is prohibited under section 9 of the Equality Act 2010. There are five “sub-types” of race:

  • Colour
  • Nationality
  • National origin
  • Ethnicity
  • Ethnic origin

Under s.6 it is  prohibited to discriminate against applicants, contract workers, persons personally providing services, employees or former employees in the workplace on the basis of their race.

What types of race discrimination are there?

  • Direct race discrimination – you are being (or have been) treated less favourably than other comparable workers because of your race. Example: you’re dismissed because you’re not English.
  • Indirect race discrimination – a provision, criterion or practice has been applied to the whole or a part of the workforce which puts workers of a particular race at a particular disadvantage and does (or would) in fact put you at a disadvantage. Example: your employer will only recruit from a specific area of the city that you live in, an area which has a low number of non-British workers
  • Racial harassment – you’re being subjected to unwanted conduct because of your race which has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for you or violating your dignity. Example: a Polish worker is called a “Polack”.

Defences to race discrimination

Race discrimination cannot be justified once proven, nor can race-related harassment.

Indirect discrimination, however, can be justified if your employer shows that the discriminatory PCP had a legitimate aim and was proportionate.

How long do I have to submit a claim for race discrimination?

You have 3 months less 1 day from the date of the date of the discriminatory action to make a complaint to the Employment Tribunal.

How do I make a complaint of race discrimination to the Employment Tribunal?

The ET1 form must be submitted to the relevant Employment Tribunal (see the postcode list to determine which is the relevant Employment Tribunal) within the relevant time limits.

There are two ways that a claim can be approached:

  • You can either choose to do this yourself (i.e. a Claimant in person) – click here to find out how an Employment Tribunal claim generally progresses; or
  • Instruct specialist employment solicitors to do this on your behalf (possibly on a no-win, no-fee agreement)

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