Race Discrimination Solicitors - Employment Claim Lawyers

Our solicitors are employment law experts who deal with compensation claims for race discrimination at work. Our race discrimination solicitors will negotiate claims on your behalf and if necessary, apply to the Employment Tribunal to settle your workplace dispute based on race.

The Race Relations Act 1976 protects individuals from racial discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, ethnicity, nationality and national origin. The legislation applies throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Similar legislation applies to Northern Ireland. In addition to employees, the legislation also covers contract workers, the self-employed and job applicants. All of these individuals are protected from racial discrimination, harassment and victimisation in employment matters. The Race Relations Act 1976 covers recruitment including refusals, offers of employment and the terms on which the employment is offered, all issues related to promotions including training, benefits, facility access and transfer and dismissal, which includes refusal to renew a fixed-term contract.

Race Discrimination At Work

If you have received unfair treatment in the workplace based on your race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins, you may have a potential solicitors claim for compensation under race relations legislation. For racial discrimination at work, prejudice and intent are not relevant; it must simply be proven by a solicitor that the offending actions were harmful and resulted in unfavourable treatment. Unlawful acts can be either direct or indirect :-

  • Direct

    Direct race discrimination refers to obvious unfavourable treatment based on race, or when an individual of a particular race is given more favourable treatment. Racially-based harassment and abuse also qualify as “direct”.

  • Indirect

    Indirect race discrimination refers to a situation in which an employment guideline that appears non-discriminatory on the surface may hinder an individual of a particular race from getting or keeping a certain position. For example, a requirement that all employees maintain short hair may adversely affect Sikhs, who, as a result of religious conviction, wear long hair beneath their turbans. These guidelines are sometimes enacted for the sole purpose of excluding certain races from applying for the position.

Offensive Behaviour

The offending party's intent or lack thereof is irrelevant. That is, it does not matter whether or not the action being complained of was committed with intent to cause offence. If the employee who was subjected to the behaviour finds it offensive and feels harmed, then it still potentially constitutes racial discrimination. Typical racial discrimination comprises a series of offensive actions rather than one incident. However, if one isolated incident is exceptionally unpleasant, then there may be strong enough grounds for a solicitor to take action in the Employment Tribunal.

Prejudice & Discrimination

Racial discrimination in the workplace is not the same as prejudice which depends not on a person's opinion, but it refers to any biased actions actually carried out and is unlawful under the current legislation. It is not necessary to show that another persons actions were deliberately intended, it is merely sufficient to show that their effect caused harm and that you received less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins as a result of what they did.

Race Discrimination Act?

You may be surprised to learn that the 'Race Discrimination Act' doesn't actually exist (unless you live in Australia) but the requisite legal protection is actually contained in the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Both of these statutes cover any unfair treatment which targets an individual because of race, colour, nationality, citizenship or ethnic origin in matters relating to employment, housing, education and the provision of goods and services :-


      Under English law all employees, regardless of race can expect to be treated in the same way. This prohibition on race discrimination covers every area of work such as training programs, promotion, selection, recruitment, salaries, pay and benefits. Similarly Trade Unions are also required to adhere to these standards and treat all of their members equally.


      When a person is in the market to rent or buy a property it is also against the law to discriminate against them because of their race, colour, citizenship, nationality or ethnic origin. Evictions for the same reasons are also illegal.


      Discrimination by a Local Education Authority, school, college or university against an individual it is also against the law.

    Goods and Services

      Regardless of whether goods or services are paid for or are free it is illegal for an individual to be given goods or services the quality of which depends on their race.

Race Relations Legislation

The legislation applicable to racial discrimination at work covers all areas pertaining to employment situations, including :-

  • application process
  • employment
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • salary and benefits
  • training
  • promotions and/or transfers
  • termination

Constructive Discrimination

It should be noted, however, that occasionally a case of “positive discrimination” occurs, such as a when, for example, an actor of a certain ethnicity is needed to play a particular role. Also, employers are also allowed to encourage specific races under their employ if that race is under-represented.

An employer can evade legal action for a race discrimination compensation claim if they can demonstrate a "genuine occupational qualification" for making such a demand that would usually be classed as race discrimination. This subject is relevant with regards to the recruitment process. For instance, a Christian church may request that only Christian applicants fill an official position. A Chinese restaurant may want genuine Chinese waiters for authenticity. A ladies or gents toilet may require staffing by only the same sex. This type of situation can be difficult to advise on without going into the specifics of a case, so anyone concerned about this type of treatment should contact a legal expert.

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment is defined as aggression based on differences of race. Further explanation can be found in the Race Relations Act of 1976, wherein it is referred to as hostile behaviour triggered by racial factors. Racial harassment can take various forms including :-

  • name-calling
  • bullying
  • racist jokes
  • verbal abuse
  • unprovoked physical assaults
  • racist graffiti
  • arson or attempted arson

Racial harassment may occur at work and be aimed at a certain employee because of race, citizenship, ethnic origin or colour. The instigators of the unlawful abuse as well as their employer can find themselves not only in the Employment Tribunal or the civil courts defending a claim for damages but also in the criminal courts facing serious charges which can result in a sentence of imprisonment.

Those who belong to an ethnic minority are usually the ones who have to put up with racial persecution however there are some cases where both the victim and persecutor belong to the same ethnic group. This can still be classified as a violation of race relations legislation.

Racial Victimisation

Racial victimisation occurs when a victim is treated less favourably because they either take legal action or indicate that they intend to take legal action for race discrimination either in the Employment Tribunal or in a court of law. Racial victimisation is unlawful and a further claim for compensation can be added to the proceedings by our race discrimination solicitors. This protection also extends to witnesses of the alleged bad behaviour and to other employees who may voice their support for the victim.

Race Discrimination Solicitors

Our race discrimination solicitors are dynamic, forward thinking lawyers whose ethos is to understand and meet the needs of a diverse range of clients. They understand that clients need and require legal services which are proactive, practical and delivered with a close eye on risk/cost/benefit at all times. They are dedicated to getting things done effectively, quickly and in a cost effective way. Our lawyers deal with claims on behalf of employees relating to employment matters including advising on racial discrimination compensation claims. Our solicitors are experts in their field and where possible they negotiate settlement failing which they will make application to the Employment Tribunal to resolve any dispute. If you would like to discuss your potential claim with a specialist employment lawyer with no charge and with no obligation just email our solicitors offices or use the helpline or complete and send the contact form.