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Racial discrimination in the workplace

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The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has recently made the headlines due to the allegations raised by Azeem Rafiq of race discrimination and harassment. It has come under close scrutiny due to the way it investigated those allegations and have since dealt with them.

No-one should be subjected to racial discrimination due to their skin colour, nationality, ethnicity, or country of origin whether it be direct discrimination or indirect discrimination, and it does not matter if the discrimination is purposeful or deliberate. Race is one of the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010.

Race discrimination within the workplace can arise in different ways and can be involved in all aspects of workplace life, whether this is in decisions relating to recruitment, redundancy, dismissals, decisions about pay or rewards or promotion. It can be experienced from a colleague, a customer, a person in a position of authority. Race discrimination can occur as a one-off incident, or a regular pattern of behaviour as alleged by Azeem Rafiq.

However the law states that employers have a duty to do everything that they reasonably can to protect their staff and job applicants from race discrimination and an employer can be held vicariously responsible for their employees’ actions.

If you have suffered racial discrimination within the workplace, the first step should be to raise this with your employer either informally initially or more formally in writing by way of a grievance. You should also check your employer’s equal opportunities policy to see if there is any separate policy to deal with concerns or grievances that deal with issues of discrimination.

If you do not feel that this resolves the issue or feel that you would prefer to gain advice before having these discussions with your employer, then you may wish to speak to one of our employment and discrimination experts for confidential advice and support on 0161 696 6170.

By Joanne Ribchester, paralegal in the employment and discrimination department