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Victimisation

Race law reform

What you need to know

 
Increased protection against victimisation


Key points

 
  • These two changes will mean that individuals will have increased protection against victimisation under the race equality legislation.
  • The first change will amend the definition of victimisation; thereby making it easier for individuals to show that they have been subjected to victimisation. The second change will increase protection against victimisation for pupils in schools. Both our recommendations are in line with changes that have already been implemented in Great Britain.


Our recommendations

We recommend that the race equality legislation is strengthened in two key areas to provide additional protection against victimisation.

Widen definition of ‘victimisation’

We recommend changes designed to amend the overall definition of victimisation. In particular, we recommend that there is no longer a requirement for the person alleging victimisation to compare his or her treatment with that of a person who has not made a complaint of discrimination or supported a complaint under the race equality legislation.

Rationale for change

This change will make it easier for individuals to show that they have been subjected to victimisation.

Take, for example, a situation where a BME employee makes a race discrimination complaint against his employer and as a result is denied promotion.  This change to the race equality law will mean that the employee, when bringing a compliant of victimisation, would not have to compare his treatment with that of another employee who did not make a race discrimination complaint against his employer.

Our recommendation is in line with changes that have already been implemented in Great Britain under the Equality Act 2010. Under the Equality Act 2010 there is no longer a need to compare the treatment of an alleged victim with that of a person who has not or made or supported a complaint under the Equality Act 2010.

As this legislative gap exists under other equality grounds, we recommend changes designed to widen the overall definition of ‘victimisation’ across all equality grounds, including race.
 

Greater protection for pupils against victimisation

We recommend that there is greater protection for pupils in schools under the race equality legislation from being victimised as a result of a protected act (such as the making or supporting a complaint of discrimination) carried out by their parents or siblings.


Rationale for change

This change will increase protection for pupils in schools from being victimised, for example, by a school, because their parents or siblings have brought a racial discrimination complaint against the school.

Pupils in schools currently have protection from being victimised if they make a discrimination or harassment complaint; for example, a complaint that they have been racially harassed by a teacher.

This change will mean, for example, that if a parent complains to the school that their child is suffering racial discrimination or harassment at school, the child is protected from being victimised by the school because of the parent’s complaint.

Our recommendation is also in line with changes that have already been implemented in Great Britain under the Equality Act 2010; where such conduct has been prohibited under the Equality Act 2010, across all equality grounds. 

Under the Equality Act 2010, children in schools are protected from being victimised as a result of a protected act (such as making or supporting a complaint of discrimination) carried out by their parent or sibling.  This protection was introduced in order to prevent parents being discouraged from raising an issue of discrimination within a school, for example, because of a worry that their child may suffer less favourable treatment as a result. 

In line with provisions in Great Britain, we recommend that where a parent or sibling maliciously makes or supports an untrue complaint, the child is still protected from victimisation, as long as the child has acted in good faith.  However, we recommend that where a child has acted in bad faith, he or she is not protected, even where a parent or sibling makes or supports an untrue complaint in good faith.

As this legislative gap exists under all other equality grounds, we recommend changes designed to strengthen protection for pupils in schools against victimisation across all equality grounds, including race.
 
 
 
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