Call us for a free Consultation on: 0333 772 0611

Understanding race discrimination

Published: 

Mon 7 May, 2018

Hand with stop discrimination in writing

Indirect Discrimination

When a leading coffee chain announced it was closing eight thousand stores in a move intended to tackle race discrimination in the workplace it made headlines worldwide.

Starbucks made the announcement after facing a growing storm and accusations of racial profiling when two black men were arrested at one of its stores in Philadelphia in the US (1).

The world’s largest coffee chain will close thousands of stores on 29 May in order to train workers on preventing racial discrimination (2).

The two men were arrested for ‘trespassing’ while they were waiting for a friend in the store.

While we may cast disparaging glances at events across the Atlantic, it appears there are still lessons to be learned when it comes to race discrimination in UK workplaces.

A recent study revealed that 60 per cent of black and 42 per cent of Asian people who took part had experienced racism at work.

The research, which questioned 1,400 workers, found that more than half of UK employees have also witnessed racism in the workplace, but the majority have failed to act on or report it (3).

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of race. In accordance with the Act race can mean the colour or nationality of an individual. It also covers ethnic and racial groups - a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race.

Race discrimination occurs when an individual is treated differently because of their race in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act. It can be a one-off incident or as a result of a rule or policy based on race. Whether an action is intentional or not it can still be found to be unlawful

ACAS list the four main types of race discrimination as follows (4):

Direct discrimination

Breaks down into three different sorts of direct discrimination of treating someone ‘less favourably’ because of:

·         Their actual race (direct discrimination)

·         Their perceived race (direct discrimination by perception)

·         The race of someone with whom they associate (direct discrimination by association).

Indirect discrimination

Can occur where there is a policy, practice, procedure or workplace rule which applies to all workers, but particularly disadvantages people of a particular race. For example, a requirement for all job applicants to have GCSE Maths and English would discriminate against potential candidates educated in countries which don't have GCSEs, unless the employer accepted equivalent qualifications.

In some limited circumstances, indirect discrimination may be justified if it is what the law terms ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

Harassment

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.

Victimisation

Unfair treatment of an employee who has made or supported a complaint about race discrimination.

Employers should ensure they have policies in place which are designed to prevent race discrimination in:

·         Recruitment

·         Determining pay, and terms and conditions of employment

·         Training and development

·         Selection for promotion

·         Discipline and grievances

·         Countering bullying and harassment

·         When an employee is dismissed.

Falling foul of race discrimination laws is costly and perhaps one of the best examples of this can be found in a case involving the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) (5)

An Asian lawyer was awarded what was a record payout of £600,000 following a lengthy legal battle with the CPS over a race claim.(6)

However, there are circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful. This is in situations where belonging to a particular race is essential for the job or where an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people in a racial group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity.

References

1. Starbucks “sorry” over black men arrest. BBC News [Internet]. 2018 Apr 15 [cited 2018 Apr 30]; Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43776176

2. Rushe D, agencies. Starbucks to close 8,000 US stores for racial-bias training. The Guardian [Internet]. 2018 Apr 17 [cited 2018 Apr 29]; Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/17/starbucks-racism-training-close-stores-may-us

3. Kandola P. One in Five People Still Being Racially Abused at Work, According to Research by Pearn Kandola [Internet]. [cited 2018 Apr 29]. Available from: http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/one-in-five-people-still-being-racially-abused-at-work-according-to-research-by-pearn-kandola-676006283.html

4. Race discrimination | Acas advice and guidance [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2018 Apr 30]. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1849

5. Homepage | The Crown Prosecution Service [Internet]. [cited 2018 Apr 30]. Available from: https://www.cps.gov.uk/

6. Correspondent RE Crime. Lawyer wins record £600,000 race claim payout from CPS. 2008 Sep 5 [cited 2018 Apr 30]; Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2690303/Lawyer-wins-record-600000-race-claim-payout-from-CPS.html

Were here to help when you need it.

   "A reputation built on Success"

We offer support on a wide range of employment law and HR issues. Our dedicated adviser are here to answer your questions and help you with your concerns. Your call is free and with no oblgation. Calls may be recorded for monitoring and training purposes.

Call us today on 0333 772 0611 or request a call back

Minimize close

Request a call back

Recent Posts

forum

Testimonials

5

Firstly I wasn’t sure but the friendly advice for free made some difference to my decision to have a union rep and further into the involvement for my need I decided to get one.

O'Sandeep

5

I spoke with Lindsey regarding my current work situation and first ever sickness meeting coming up in the next week or two. Very knowledgeable and gave me some sound advice that I think will prove to be very beneficial. Thank you for all your advice today.

JG

5

I contacted Castle Associates as I was in a time of need and wasn't a member of a trade union. I received knowledgeable and genuine help from a consultant who spend 50 minutes guiding me and ensuring that I had as much information as possible.

Slack

5

I spoke to Lindsay at Castle and she was beyond helpful good honest practical advice without the hard sell! Would highly recommend I feel ready for my meeting tomorrow armed with lots of facts.

Sharron

5

I spoke to Lindsey this morning on the phone and she helped me so much. Due to face a disciplinary my first one with some complications she offered me some amazing advice. Top service and will use again if I ever need to.

Amy

5

Great advice, excellent service.

John

5

Excellent customer service. Very supportive, pointing to the right directions. Very happy with their advice.

Hasan

5

After being made redundant totally out of the blue I contacted Castle Associates regarding the process. They gave me excellent clear and concise advice on how my case had been handled and pointed out the failings in this.

Trevor

5

Castle Associates called me as agreed but I missed the call whilst driving. They did however call again in the early evening to offer brief but very valuable advice. The solicitor to whom I spoke was friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable in the field of employment law.

Heather

5

The adviser at Castle Associates made me feel at ease when speaking to her over the phone and gave me a push in the right direction. She had excellent knowledge, advice, and was very professional. 5/5 customer service.Thank you!

Naqeebah