Race Discrimination

Race Discrimination, which is now governed by the Equality Act 2010, can take four distinct forms:

  • Direct Race Discrimination
  • Indirect Race Discrimination
  • Victimisation
  • Harassment

Race can encompass colour, nationality, ethnicity and national origins.

Direct Race Discrimination occurs when:

  • An employer treats an employee less favourably;
  • The less favourable treatment is due to race (i.e. someone of a different race is, or would be, treated more favourably): and
  • The treatment has led to a direct disadvantage

Examples of direct race discrimination are where an employer chooses not to appoint a candidate to a role due to their race, and a fear they would not fit in, or refusing to promote an individual due to stereotypical assumptions held about a particular racial group.

Indirect Race Discrimination occurs when an employee is put at a disadvantage due to a provision, criteria or practice which applies to everyone, but places the individual (and people of the racial group to which they belong) at a disadvantage. The provision, criteria or practice also has not to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Examples of indirect race discrimination would be if an employer introduced a policy requiring all its employees to be clean-shaven, as this would put groups such as Sikhs at a disadvantage. Similarly, a policy requiring all employees to hold UK qualifications only will also fall to be an example of indirect race discrimination.

Victimisation happens when an employer or their employees treat an employee unfavourably simply because they have chosen to bring a claim of race discrimination, have made a complaint, or have acted as a witness for someone who had made such a complaint.

It is also against the law to subject an employee to unwanted and unwarranted conduct related to race which could reasonably be considered to cause that employee offence. This constitutes Harassment.