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Race Discrimination for Employers

Race is defined by the Equality Act 2010 and includes Colour, Nationality and Ethnic or National Origins.

The Equality Act which amalgamates the laws relating to discrimination makes it unlawful for an employer to:

  • Discriminate directly by treating a job applicant or employee less favourably than others because of race
  • Discriminate indirectly by applying a provision, criterion, or practice such as a policy, which affects the workforce that disadvantages job applicants or employees of a particular race without objective justification
  • Subject a job applicant or employee to harassment related to race
  • Victimise a job applicant or employee by treating them to a detriment or terminating their employment because they have made or intend to make a race discrimination complaint

Direct discrimination

This is where because of race an employer treats a person less favourably than they treat or would treat others. Motive or intention is irrelevant and there is no defence once direct discrimination has been proved.

Indirect discrimination

This is where the employer has a provision, criterion, or practice, such as a policy, that it applies in the workplace, that affects and puts, or would put, people of a particular race to disadvantage and it is not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


Racial harassment occurs where both:

  • The employer, another employee or a third party engages in unwanted conduct related to race
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person being harassed, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person


Victimisation occurs where an employer or a person subjects another person to a detriment because that victimised person has done, intends to do, or is suspected of doing or intending to do, any of the following protected acts:

  • Bringing proceedings under the Equality Act 2010
  • Giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Equality Act
  • Doing any other thing for the purposes of or in connection with the Equality Act
  • Alleging that the discriminator or any other person has contravened the Equality Act

If you are concerned that there may have been race discrimination or would like to try to avoid discrimination because of race, contact one of our Employment Law specialist solicitors.


For further information or to speak to one of our experts, please get in touch