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16 Racial Discrimination

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

Discrimination happens when someone is treated worse ('less favourably' in legal terms) than another person in the same situation. This leaflet deals with your rights if you are discriminated against because of your:

  • race;
  • colour;
  • nationality; or
  • national or ethnic origin.

Throughout this leaflet, we use the words 'race' and 'racial' to cover all of these things.

People may suffer discrimination in a number of situations. It can happen:

  • at work;
  • when buying or using goods and services;
  • when trying to buy or rent somewhere to live; or
  • at a school or college.
  • when dealing with the authorities (for example, the police).

The law protects you from many kinds of discrimination and gives you the right to take a claim to an employment tribunal or to a court if you think you have been unfairly treated.

There are two other Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflets which you may also find useful:

  • '', looks in more detail at the laws on discrimination because of your sex, and also at your rights if you are discriminated against because of your age, your religious beliefs or if you are lesbian or gay.
  • '', which looks at dealing with discrimination if you have a disability.

You may find that you are discriminated against for more than one reason. If so, you may need to get advice about the best course for action. You can get advice from:

  • a trade union;
  • your local law centre;
  • a Citizens Advice Bureau; or
  • a solicitor.

Racial discrimination is not the same as racial abuse (being attacked, for example). Racial abuse is a crime, and if you have been a victim, you should report it to the police. See 'Racial harassment' for more about this.

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

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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