Racial discrimination is covered under the Equality Act 2010 and employers must not unlawfully discriminate on the grounds of race.
Racial discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfairly due to race, colour, nationality, citizenship and ethnic or national origins. Every employee has protection from race discrimination at work. This includes:
- Recruitment and selection
- Training, pay and benefits
- Redundancy and dismissal
- Terms and conditions of work
There are numerous ways employers could unlawfully discriminate, which can include:
- Indirect discrimination
- Direct discrimination
Direct racial discrimination occurs when an employee receives poor treatment due to race or perceived race. It can be a one-off or continuous situation. If the environment is consistently hostile, offensive or degrading to that employee, that’s racial harassment.
Indirect discrimination can occur when companies disadvantage certain racial groups through their policies and procedures.
Victimisation can occur when employees are punished or harassed due to making a complaint about discrimination in one way or another or if you have helped someone who has been the victim of discrimination.
But be aware there are times when there is an exception to the rule. If an employer shows that you need to be a particular race in order to do a certain job, they can insist on employing someone of that race. This is known as an occupational requirement and does not count as discrimination.
If you think you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your or another person’s race, then you should take action as soon as possible.
- Inform your line manager that you believe that you are being discriminated against. Ensure you write a complaint via email or letter with a time and date and keep a copy. If it is your line manager discriminating against you then make a complaint to another person in a position of authority in your organisation.
- Make a formal complaint known as a “grievance”, to your HR department and keep a copy.
- Obtain specialist advice from a qualified person and collect evidence of any incidents you believe have been discriminatory. Keep a record of all incidents of discrimination that you think you suffered and record who was involved and what happened. Keep anything that you think is relevant.
This article is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek professional advice regarding any legal questions or concerns you may have.