No, there are different types of race discrimination, and it doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
The main forms are:
- Direct discrimination is where you are treated worse than others because of your race. For example: An Asian worker, despite being the best candidate in a pool of applicants, is not appointed to a job because of his race.
- Indirect discrimination is where an organisation unjustifiably operates a rule or policy that looks the same for everyone but in effect disadvantages people from your racial group. For example: When recruiting a job, an employer asks for a higher standard of English than is needed for job to be carried out effectively.
- Harassment is where a person behaves in a way, on racial grounds, which violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. For example: A Polish worker is subjected to racist jokes, banter, insults, is excluded from tea breaks, picked on and experiences an uncomfortable working environment.
- Victimisation is where you have made a complaint of race discrimination or helped someone else with a complaint under the race law. For example: A Latvian woman complains to her manager about racist remarks made by colleagues in her presence. She is immediately told her work is unsatisfactory and is dismissed, but the real reason for her dismissal is the complaint.
Over the past three years we have helped 1200 people who have experienced some form of racial discrimination.
We helped individuals with issues such as:
Dismissal / redundancy
Recruitment and promotion
Terms and conditions, such as salary, pension, holidays, work allocation
You are protected from race discrimination in all aspects of working life:
Applying for a job
Terms and conditions in a job
Opportunities for training / promotion
Disciplinary / grievance procedures
The working environment
Dismissal / redundancy
However, there are limited circumstances where race discrimination is allowed i.e. belonging to a particular racial group is necessary to do a job. This is called genuine occupational requirement (GOR).
Genuine occupational requirement examples:
A local drama group requires a black person to play the part of Othello, on grounds of authenticity.
A hostel run for Asian women who have suffered violence may be able to insist that they only employ Asian women. This is because residents would find it easier to relate to people from their own racial group and gender.
1. Contact our Discrimination Advice Officers who will provide you with free and confidential information and guidance to help you resolve your issue.
2. Raise your complaint directly with your employer and seek a resolution.
3. If a resolution is not reached and you wish to take your case further you must notify the Labour Relations Agency. You will be offered early conciliation which can help you and your employer resolve the issue before you need to make a claim.
4. If your complaint is still not resolved you can lodge a claim with the tribunals. We may be able to provide you with legal representation. It is your responsibility to lodge your complaint of discrimination with the tribunal.
Only a tribunal decides whether the treatment you have complained of is unlawful discrimination. It is separate to, and independent from, the Equality Commission.
If you require assistance or would like to make a discrimination complaint, complete our online form or telephone 028 90 500 600 (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri).
Publications (in pdf format)
relevant to race discrimination:
Translated publication - Migrant Workers Rights (pdfs):
A race hate crime is any incident perceived to have been committed against you or your property on the grounds of your ethnicity.
Racist incidents can take many different forms, for example, personal assaults, damage to your home or property as well as verbal abuse, hate mail, or the circulation of racist leaflets and materials.
You can find out more on racist hate crime on the Police Service for NI's website
What should I do if I have been a victim of race hate crime?
If you have been the victim of a racist incident you can call the Police on 101
(and select option 2: reporting a hate crime). In an emergency always call 999.
If you would like the police to know about a hate crime but you really do not want to report the crime yourself, someone else can report it for you – this is called third party reporting.
If your home has been attacked because of your race you may be eligible for personal and home protection measures under the Hate Incidents Practical Actions (HIPA) Scheme
What is the Equality Commission's role in relation to racist hate crime?
Although the Commission does not deal directly with hate crime it seeks through its policy work to influence the NI Executive and others to implement measures to tackle racism and hate crime. For more on this see the Commission’s priorities and recommendations on racial equality