Our Latest


Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

By Lauren Batty, Sheffield Hallam LLM Student

Here at SHU Law our aim is to widen the access to justice, promote human rights and achieve equality and respect for human dignity in overcoming social injustice. We are an inclusive pro bono law firm and aim to seek equality and justice for those groups who are often discriminated against.

Recently the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a light on many different types of racial injustice happening not only just in the UK but all over the world. In the UK racial discrimination is prohibited under s.9 of The Equality Act 2010 which states that you cannot discriminate against someone due to their race, as it is a protected characteristic under the Act. This includes their colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination occurs all too often in the workplace in the UK. A recent study from Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford found that the level of job discrimination in the UK against BAME Britons has not improved in the last 50 years.

There are four main types of racial discrimination and these are:

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination is when someone treats you unfavourably because of your actual race, perceived race or the race of someone with whom you associate. For example, if you were passed up on a job opportunity because of your race this would be direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is where a policy, rule or law practiced by an organisation puts a certain racial group at a disadvantage. For example, if a company does not allow employees to wear head accessories or headdresses. This would disadvantage some Muslim women or Sikh men unfairly.


Harassment occurs when someone’s conduct makes you feel humiliated, singled out, offended or degraded. This could be by being called racist names or having racist jokes told to you or about you. To some it may seem like a joke but to others this can be very personal and de-humanising.


If you have made a complaint about race discrimination or have supported someone who has and you then receive unfair treatment, this would be victimisation. For example, if you reported someone to HR for repeatedly calling you a racial slur and your peers begin to treat you badly or your manager threatens to fire you unless you drop the complaint.

If you feel that you have experienced racial discrimination in the workplace, please do give us a call on 0114 225 6666 and we can help you explore your options further.

< Back to News