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16 Racial Discrimination

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

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

It is against the law for a school or college to discriminate against or harass you or your child:

  • in the terms on which it offers to admit your child;
  • when deciding whether to exclude your child; or
  • in the way your child is taught.

The school or college must deal with any racial harassment or abuse by staff. It is also against the law for a local education authority to discriminate when assessing a child’s special needs.

If you feel your child is facing racial discrimination, you should, in the  first instance, try to discuss the problem with the teacher or head teacher. The Department for Education and Skills has information about dealing with this (see ‘Further help’ for contact details).

If that doesn’t work, complain to the school governors or the local education authority. If you need to, you can get advice on what to do from:

  • the Commission for Racial Equality;
  • your local Racial Equality Council; or
  • the Advisory Centre for Education helpline.

See ‘Further help’ for details.

If you are a student, your college or university should have an equal opportunities policy for students as well as staff.

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 Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with the Commission for Racial Equality.

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The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version:  July 2017




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