What is race discrimination?

Race discrimination is when you are treated unfairly because of your race, or because of the race of someone you are connected with, such as your partner.

‘Race’ includes colour, nationality, citizenship and ethnic or national origins.

If race discrimination takes place in any of the following situations it is illegal and you may be able to take action about it:

  • employment and training
  • education
  • when providing goods and services, for example, banking, entertainment and transport
  • housing
  • any of the activities carried out by public authorities, such as the NHS, government departments, local authorities, the police and prisons

What can you do about race discrimination?

If you think you’ve suffered race discrimination there are a number of things you may be able to do. These include:

  • talking to the person or organisation that discriminated against you
  • using a grievance procedure or making a claim to an employment tribunal if it is an employment problem
  • publicising your case through the media
  • taking legal action through the courts
  • giving details of the problem to an advice agency who may able to refer it to the Equality and Human Rights Commission if you believe the problem is widespread

When deciding what action to take about race discrimination, you will need to think about what you are trying to achieve. For example, do you want financial compensation, justice or publicity? You will also need to think about how quickly you need to get a result.

Any course of action is likely to be complicated and may involve court action. You should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at Citizen’s Advice. Contact

For more information about making a claim to an employment tribunal, see the You think you’re a victim of race discrimination at work overview page

For more information about what you can do about discrimination, see .

If someone has been violent or hostile towards you because of your race, you can report this to the police as a hate incident or hate crime. For more information on hate crime see .

is a Third party reporting Centre in relation to Hate Crime. A Third party reporting centre is a place (which is not a police station) where clients can report hate crime and incidents. We can support the client with making a referral to the Police or support them to make an online referral.  The report can be given in confidence and the details of the report will only contain the victim’s personal details with their consent when passed to the police.

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Updated 24/08/2021

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