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16 Racial Discrimination

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

3. What the law says

4. Discrimination at work

5. Harassment at work

6. Discrimination when renting or buying a house or flat

7. Discrimination at school or college

8. Discrimination when buying goods or services

9. What you can do about discrimination

10. Going to an employment tribunal

If you want to make a complaint under the Race Relations Act, you must send your complaint either on form ET1 or in a letter to the Regional Office of Employment Tribunals. You can get this form from:

  • Jobcentres;
  • the CRE; or
  • a local employment tribunal.

You must make your complaint within three months, less one day, from the date when the discrimination first happened. If you use the employer’s internal grievance procedure, the time limit is six months less one day. However, you must give your employer at least one month to resolve your grievance before taking a complaint to the tribunal, so you should complain to your employer as soon as you can.

You may want to complain about both your employer and a particular employee (or employees) who you believe discriminated against you.

The cost of going to a tribunal is low. The employment tribunal will decide whether you have suffered discrimination. It may also consider whether it is reasonable to make a claim. Even if you lose your case, you will not have to pay the other side’s costs unless the tribunal decides your claim was unreasonable.

If you do want to take a complaint to an employment tribunal, you would normally send a special form, called a ‘Section 65’ questionnaire, to the employer. You can get this form from:

  • Jobcentres;
  • your local benefits office; or
  • the CRE.

The form lets you ask the employer about the treatment you received. For example, if you believe that you didn’t get a job because of your race, you can ask the employer for details of the selection procedures and of the qualifications and experience of the person who got the job, to see how they compare with your own. You can also ask about the racial group of the person who got the job.

You must send the form to the employer within three months of when you first knew about the discrimination, or no more than 21 days after your complaint was received by the employment tribunal.

You don’t have to use the Section 65 procedure, but it is normally the best way to gather evidence for your case. The employer doesn’t legally have to reply to the questionnaire form, but if they don’t, the tribunal could decide that the employer discriminated against you. If you do use the procedure you can still go ahead with your complaint or withdraw it before the tribunal deals with your case.

You or the employer can appeal against the tribunal’s decision to the Employment Appeals Tribunal within 42 days after that decision. You can appeal only if you think the tribunal did not apply the law correctly, not because you think the tribunal’s decision was unfair.

11. Going to court

12. The Human Rights Act

13. Further help

14. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with the Commission for Racial Equality.

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Leaflet Version: November 2007

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