Race discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of race, colour, and nationality, ethnic or national origin. Race discrimination covers four areas:
Treating someone less favourably than another person because of their race. Direct discrimination may also cover:
- Perceived discrimination which occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of their perceived race, even if this belief is not correct.
- Associative discriminationwhich occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of the race of someone with whom they associate.
Occurs where there is a policy, practice or procedure which applies to all workers, but particularly disadvantages people of a particular race. An example could be a requirement for all job applicants to have GCSE Maths and English: people educated in countries which don’t have GCSEs would be discriminated against if equivalent qualifications were not accepted. Indirect discrimination can only be justified if there is a good reason for discrimination. This is also known as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
This is when unwanted conduct related to race has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
Harassment can never be justified. However, you may not be able to make a claim of harassment against an organisation or employer if they can show that they did everything it could to prevent the unwanted conduct. However, you may be able to make a claim against the harasser.
This occurs when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint, or supported someone who has made a complaint, of race related discrimination.
Circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful
A difference in treatment may be lawful if:
- There are some jobs which can require that the jobholder is of a particular racial group. This is known as an ‘occupational requirement’. One example is where the jobholder provides personal welfare services to a limited number of people and those services can most effectively be provided by a person of a particular racial group due to cultural needs and sensitivities. Positive action is where an employer can provide support, training or encourage people from a particular racial group.
- An employer or organisation may take positive action to encourage participation of people in a racial group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity.
Information and Support
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