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In what settings does racial discrimination occur?

Discrimination in any of the areas listed below is unlawful under the Race Relations Act.



As well as extending protection against discrimination to employees, the Act also extends to partnerships.


If discrimination is on grounds of colour or nationality, it is unlawful to discriminate in relation to a position as a partner in a firm, provided the firm consists of six or more partners. However, the prohibition against discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic or national origin extends to firms with fewer than six partners.


The Act also applies to members of trade unions (or those seeking membership of trade unions) and applies to authorities or bodies which issue authorisations or qualifications for engagement in professions and trades. In addition, individuals seeking or undergoing training for vocational purposes are also covered. Similarly, employment agencies cannot discriminate against individuals that receive their services.


The Secretary of State must not also discriminate in the provision of facilities of services under Section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973. This relates to the Manpower Services Commission.


All aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, training, pay and benefits, redundancy, dismissal and terms and conditions of work are protected.



The amended Act applies to all schools and colleges maintained by local education authorities or education authorities (in Scotland), independent (fee paying) schools and colleges, further education colleges, special schools, early years providers, universities, local education authorities and governors of schools and colleges and school boards (in Scotland).


The amended Act covers admission, treatment as a pupil or student, and exclusion, as well as decisions by local education authorities and education authorities (in Scotland), such as decisions on special educational needs.


Goods, facilities and services

The amended Act applies to anyone providing goods, facilities or services to the public; for example: hotels, shops, banks, insurance companies, financial services, cinemas, theatres, bars, restaurants, pubs, places of entertainment or refreshment, transport and travel services, and services provided by any local or public authority and by any profession or trade. It is unlawful to be refused a service, or not to be given the same standard of service extended to others.



The amended Act applies to the selling, letting or managing of property (including business premises), making it illegal to discriminate in the way any of these activities are conducted.


Stop and search

Racial discrimination in law enforcement, including stop and search, is covered by the Race Relations Act.


This means that if you believe you have been stopped and searched by the police directly because of your race or colour (or indirectly, for example because of your hairstyle or language that you speak) you can complain of racial discrimination. The same applies if you have been less favourably treated on racial grounds than someone else was - or would have been - treated during the stop and search, for example in the way you were spoken to.


Any public function

Since 2 April 2001, the Act has applied to all the functions of public authorities that were previously excluded.


This brings within the scope of the Act the law enforcement or control functions of government agencies, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the probation service, Customs and Excise, the immigration service and the prison service; and the regulatory functions of local authorities, including environmental health, trading standards, licensing, and child protection.


If you believe you have been discriminated against, directly, indirectly or by way of victimisation, by any public authority since 2 April 2001, you have the right to bring a complaint in a county court in England and Wales or in a sheriff court in Scotland. Certain complaints of discrimination relating to decisions on immigration status will be considered as part of the one-stop immigration appeal procedure.


You are also protected against discrimination where a public function is being carried out by a private company or a voluntary organisation on behalf of a public authority. This means the Act applies to prison discipline in private prisons as well as prisons run by the Prison Service.


Information accessed from - http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/


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