UK Employment Solicitors -

Racial Discrimination Solicitors - UK Compensation Claims

The Race Relations Act 1976 protects more than just employees. It also applies to job applicants, contract workers and individuals who are self-employed. Throughout the entire process of applying for and obtaining employment, all of these individuals are protected from racial discrimination, victimisation and harassment. All aspects of employment are covered, including recruitment, refusals to offer employment and terms of employment. Those who are employed by an organisation cannot be discriminated against in their benefits, training, transfers and facility access. Another type of racial discrimination involves an employer’s refusal to renew a fixed-term contract.

Unfair treatment aimed at a person because of race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin which is generally described as racial discrimination is both unlawful and illegal. The Race Relations Act 1976 and subsequent amendments entitles an offended person to make a claim for compensation in the Employment Tribunal. This legislation applies in a number of important areas including :-

  • Employment.
  • Housing.
  • Education.

Goods and Services.

Employers and Trade Unions must treat all employees equally regardless of race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin and this applies to training, promotion, selection, recruitment, salaries, pay and benefits. The protection against racial discrimination extends to job applicants, employees, self-employed and contract workers and includes recruitment, including the terms of any employment that is offered, and a refusal to offer employment, promotion and dismissal including expiry of a fixed term contract. The Race Relations Act 1976 applies to all facets of the employment process including :

  • application process
  • employment training
  • salary & benefits
  • transfers
  • promotions
  • termination

Owners of property in are required by law to treat all citizens equally regardless of race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin when that person is occupying, renting or buying a property.

    It is unlawful for any private person or public body including education authorities, schools and universities to discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin.

      Merchants in must not discriminate, by the supply of inferior products whether paid for or free, on the grounds race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin.

      The Race Relations Act 1976 protects individuals from discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, national origin and ethnicity. This legislation applies throughout the UK except Northern Ireland which has its own similar legislation. It applies to job applicants, employees, contract workers and individuals who are self-employed and covers recruitment, refusals to offer employment and terms of employment. Employees cannot be discriminated against in their benefits, training, transfers, facility access or renewal of a fixed-term contract.

      Whether or not the offending party intended to behave in a discriminatory manner is not relevant. Intent is not considered when the Employment Tribunal determines whether someone has been the victim of race discrimination. The standard is whether the employee feels harmed by the alleged offensive behaviour however case law indicates that hypersensitive applicants can misinterpret comments or behaviour and may therefore not be able to benefit from the legislation.

      Direct race discrimination is intentional and obvious. Indirect race discrimination is less obvious but is often more clandestine or invidious and has to do with requirements put in place by an employer that negatively affect one of the groups intended to be protected by the legislation.

      Racial Harassment

      Racial harassment can be considered a category of race discrimination. Your opinion that someone holds a certain prejudice toward you is not grounds for a harassment claim. Prejudice is a way of thinking or a perception however discrimination and harassment are positive actions that are unacceptable under the law.

      Various forms of racial or ethnic harassment exist including verbal comments or attacks on character or an isolated incident of physical abuse. Another less obvious form of harassment is bullying, which may involve a number of trivial incidents that continue over a long period of time.

      Victims of race based harassment can assist in prosecuting their claim before the Employment Tribunal if they take positive measures to gather and preserve relevant evidence. Some of those steps include:

      • Keep a detailed written log or notes about specific episodes of harassment. Details should include dates and time or incidents; locations where the incidents took place; names of known harassers; and names of known witnesses.
      • Report the incident immediately to a superior whilst making a written note. This will give your superior the chance to settle the dispute and strengthen your case.
      • In the event a superior takes no action or fails to take appropriate actions, you should lodge an official grievance, as soon as possible, with management or a trade union representative. Include as many details as possible into your formal complaint.
      • Seek legal advice from an employment solicitor if the circumstances remain unsettled.

      There is currently no specific legislation that deals with racial harassment however legal action can be taken in the Employment Tribunal by relying on certain sections within the following statutes:

      • Race Relations Act 1976
      • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
      • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
      • Protection from Harassment Act 1996
      • Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

      Racial Victimisation

      There are four fundamental sub-divisions of race discrimination law, one of which is racial victimisation. The employer is ultimately responsible and could be subject to a claim for compensation for victimisation from any worker who was harassed or discriminated against after issuing an application for compensation in the Employment Tribunal, or if that employee is mistreated for providing evidence or offering to be a witness in any such case brought by another worker. Any hostile, negative acts or unfavourable treatment directed at anyone who participates in an Employment Tribunal case can be judged as victimisation which may result in substantial compensation being awarded against the employer by the Manchester Employment Tribunal.

      Victimisation is one particular type of racial discrimination. It occurs when an employee who has participated in a legal action under the statute is punished in some way for this participation. Racial victimisation can also occur if the employee is treated in a discriminatory manner for merely indicating intent to bring a claim or when an employee is treated unfavourably because they provided evidence in a racial discrimination case or made allegations of racial discrimination having taken place.

      Individuals are protected from racial discrimination in the workplace by the Race Relations Act 1976. This statute protects individuals from discrimination on a number of different grounds, including race, colour, national origin and ethnicity. The statute is applicable in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has similar legislation.

      Offensive Behaviour & Intent

      Whether or not the offending party intended to behave in a discriminatory manner is not relevant. Intent is not a factor in determining whether someone has been the victim of racial discrimination. The standard is whether the employee feels harmed by offensive treatment in the workplace. Typically, a legal case is based not on one single incident but rather a series of offensive actions. It is possible, however, to bring a successful claim if an isolated incident is deemed exceptionally offensive.

      Direct or Indirect Discrimination

      There are two types of racial discrimination – direct and indirect. Direct racial discrimination is blatant and intentional. It occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of their race. Indirect racial discrimination has to do with requirements put in place by an employer that disproportionately and negatively affects one racial group more than others. Unless the employer can provide a non-racially motivated justification for the requirement, they have committed racial discrimination.

      Direct Race Discrimination

      Direct discrimination is obvious unfair mistreatment or racially based insults and comments directed at individuals, in the workplace or during events related to work. Favouritism in selection for promotion or other benefits that exclude a deserving worker from consideration because of race is also be considered direct discrimination.

      Indirect Race Discrimination

      Indirect discrimination normally occurs when management enacts policies or directives that exclude a certain group of individuals based on race. Take for instance a policy that directs that all personnel being considered for a supervisory position present a neat business like appearance, including short hair and a clean-shaven face. This policy on the surface appears to be non-discriminatory; however, this would exclude certain races who must sport a beard.

        Compensation Awards

        The Employment Tribunal awards compensation to individuals who bring successful claims of racial discrimination. Damages awarded in discrimination and harassment cases can be substantial. If the Employment Tribunal deems the incident to have been exceptionally offensive, it has the option of awarding the claimant substantial aggravated damages. There is no statutory cap on the amount of compensation a successful claimant can be awarded in discrimination and harassment cases.

        Applications under the legislation in regards to employment matters are heard before the Employment Tribunal which can award unlimited compensation including aggravated damages if the behaviour has been particularly offensive. Applications must generally be made within three months of the offensive behaviour or within three months of the last incident of offensive behaviour if there has been a continuing catalogue of complaints. This may be extended by a further three months. It is important to note then an employee complaining of any form of discrimination must put in a grievance and comply with minimum statutory requirements if they wish to pursue a claim in a tribunal. There is a right to appeal a decision of the Employment Tribunal to The Employment Appeals Tribunal and public funding by way of legal aid may be available to finance an appeal.

        Lawful Discrimination

        In certain circumstances an employer may be allowed to discriminate against a person based on race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin however any restriction must be a genuine occupational qualification failing which it will be illegal. An example of this would occur in an ethnic restaurant where the owner may require all waiters to be of a particular ethnicity to retain the restaurants atmosphere and authenticity.

        Positive discrimination also occurs when an employer requests applicants of a particular ethnicity because there is no reasonable alternative. This is the case whereby an actor may be required to play the part of a famous statesman and must be of a particular 'look' and ethnicity for the purpose of reality. Positive racial discrimination is therefore acceptable under certain restricted circumstances.

        Race Discrimination Solicitors

        Our employment solicitors provide legal guidance to workers who are the victims of racial discrimination. We have extensive expertise in the field of race discrimination and we will make every effort to negotiate a settlement with your employer and if that is unsuccessful, our lawyers will make an application to the Employment Tribunal for compensation.

        If you believe that you are being mistreated at work based on your race, ethnicity, national origins or colour you should take legal action. The Race Relations Act 1996 was enacted to prohibit racially biased behaviour and abuse in the workplace and at work related activities. Call our race discrimination helpline, give us the details of your dispute and we will give you advice at no cost. Keep in mind that whether or not discrimination was intended is not relevant, the only relevance is did the discriminatory acts in fact take place.