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Race, Religion or Belief

Protection from unfair treatment

Employees are protected from unfair treatment because of their skin colour, nationality, or ethnic origin

5Race Discrimination

Race discrimination is unlawful.

Employees are protected from unfair treatment because of their skin colour, nationality, or ethnic origin.

When someone is treated less favourably than someone else and the reason for that less favourable treatment is their race this is direct race discrimination and is unlawful. For example, it is unlawful to not hire someone for a position purely because of the colour of their skin.

Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that puts people of a particular racial group at a disadvantage. Like all forms of indirect discrimination, particular policies may not be unlawful if there is a justification for it. This means that there must be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Racial harassment is unlawful and can never be justified. Harassment is subjecting someone to unwanted conduct related to their race, which violates their dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. This can frequently include ‘banter’ between work colleagues. Only if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, will it be able to defeat a claim for harassment against it. However, claims could be brought against the harasser.

It is unlawful to subject someone to a detriment, or to victimise them, because they have made or intend to make a complaint relating to race, or if they raise other concerns under the Equality Act.

Religion Discrimination

Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief is unlawful.

When someone is treated less favourably than someone else and the reason for that less favourable treatment is their religion or belief, this is direct race discrimination and is unlawful.

Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that puts people of a particular religious group at a disadvantage. For example: if an employer has a policy where individuals must wear a specific uniform. This policy applies across the board, and on the face of it, appears neutral. However, such a uniform policy could disadvantage certain religious groups who have rules in relation to how they must dress. Like all forms of indirect discrimination, particular policies may not be unlawful if there is a justification for it. This means that there must be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. There has been much litigation in recent years about so called ‘neutrality’ being used a justification. Neutrality in this context is when companies wish to project a certain corporate image, free from links to religion, belief or ideology.

Another example of a policy that could be indirectly discriminatory is a mandatory policy for employees to work Sundays. This might affect employees whose religion forbids them from working on a Friday or a Sunday. This policy would disadvantage this particular employee, as well as other members of that religion, and is therefore indirectly discriminatory (unless, of course, it can be objectively justified).

Harassment is unlawful and can never be justified. Harassment is subjecting someone to unwanted conduct related to their race, which violates their dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. This can frequently include ‘banter’ between work colleagues. Only if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, will it be able to defeat a claim for harassment against it. However, claims could be brought against the harasser.

It is unlawful to subject someone to a detriment, or to victimise them, because they have made or intend to make a complaint relating to their religion or belief discrimination, or if they raise other concerns under the Equality Act.

 

 

 

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