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Race Discrimination and Your Rights

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 10 Feb 2016 | comments*Discuss
Race Racial Discrimination Rights

Since 1976 Britain has had its own laws regarding race discrimination and your rights towards protection under the law. Race discrimination should never be tolerated, and there are legal consequences for those who do discriminate on the grounds of race.

The Race Relations Act 1976

The Race Relations Act 1976 was passed by Parliament in Britain to make acts of racial discrimination unlawful. The act was introduced at a time when Britain was seeing a number of race related acts in major cities such as London and Birmingham. The 1976 act incorporated and updated the original 1965 Race Relations Act that made racial discrimination unlawful in public places. However, the original act was not seen as fair enough as it did not include any rules on employment or housing.

What is Race Discrimination?

Race discrimination can be defined as the act of treating a person less favourably than another on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. The 1976 act, which was again amended in 2000, means that this type of discrimination is unlawful and there can be legal consequences. There are a number of areas where race discrimination should not occur and rights of individuals are protected and these will include:

  • Housing
  • Employment including employment training
  • Education
  • Public authorities and government agencies
  • Prisons
  • The provision of goods, services and financial affairs

Types of Race Discrimination

Direct discrimination is one of the more unconcealed types of discrimination. It will include acts such as verbal or physical abuse due to a person’s colour, nationality or ethnic origin. It can also include issues such as employees being passed over for promotion in the workplace or clubs that operate a quota rule to limit or eliminate black members. With direct discrimination it does not matter whether the discrimination was intended or not. Direct discrimination is unlawful and if proven there can be legal consequences.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when, for example, a company has certain rules that apply to everyone but will put certain groups at a disadvantage. For instance a firm that will not employ anyone who does not have a British driving licence. This could be seen as indirect discrimination against foreign nationality workers in the UK. Unlike direct discrimination, employers do have the opportunity to justify their actions if the matter comes to an employment tribunal.

Victimisation and the Law

Victimisation is another category that is included in the Race Relations Act. This could occur if someone has brought a claim against a company or an individual and then been treated unfavourably because of this action. It could also apply to a person who has given evidence, for example at an employment tribunal, and then been victimised because of this action. Victimisation should always be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities and should not be allowed to continue.


Harassment is a type of bullying similar to the type seen in school playgrounds. Wherever this type of racial harassment occurs it can have a very detrimental effect on the quality of a person’s life. Racial harassment can happen anywhere by anyone, even by public authority figures. Harassment is unlawful on the grounds of national origins, ethnicity and race. However it is not unlawful on the grounds of colour and nationality.

Enforcing your Rights

Racial discrimination, harassment or victimisation should not be tolerated and anyone who has been subjected to this practice should enforce their rights. In employment situations the matter should be taken to a supervisor or Human Resources department. If this does not put an end to the discrimination or a resolution is not found then it could lead to an employment tribunal.

Outside of the working environment there are a number of sources of support such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Lawyers will also be able to give advice on the best course of action to take if race discrimination has occurred. Stamping out racial discrimination will not happen overnight but standing up for your rights is the only way to create a free and equal society.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I do reside for the 10 year in Britainand during years I had been experience tremendous level of Hated Discrimination & Xenophobia against my self as Italian Nationality. Unfortunately I am not English therefore, as European National under the regimen of David Cameron as Primer Minister he had been punish all the European and blocked in many ways without considering any of the Law or Human Right like 1998 Act or any other Human Right Law that could possible protect the right of the people. I need to contact with a Solicitor to provide all the Evidences and punishment from the NHS & DWP against myself. I appreciate if you contact with me at my email please. Gladys M Ripari
ANGITO - 25-Dec-15 @ 1:21 PM
My supervisor have direct or indirectly discriminated against me, he has victimized and been vindictive towards me and no one seems to do anything about it, due to my contracts terms as Zero hour, he takes advantage of the system to miss use his power, I have been working in the control room for more than 3yrs and the only coloured security in there, but seems not happy about this, he lied that the contract required an experience guard in a less demanding post, and vindictive by bringing my work hours from 60hrs/week to 40hrs, he let a guy with sleeping difficulties and another without experience or with just a security guard license to work in the control room, but when I asked why he made such decisions, he only told me that someone reported me to the management... Which he can't tell me or explain, as another colleague about to say or do something was taken away as well, because he is black too, while he told his colleague that he wants to get rid of those people, they're are not suppose to work here.
Ash - 10-Aug-15 @ 12:59 PM
i was racially abused by a customer when at work. Its been reported to the police and they have not taken any of my work colleagues statement who were present during the incident. what should i do next? I called them on 101 asking for update on this and the PC sent me an email saying they will warn this person other than that there is they have not mentioned saying what action will be taken against this person. They just took my statement on the day of the incident took place.I am really upset after this incident. please advise
WillDreamworld - 5-Mar-14 @ 12:09 PM
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