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A important piece of Legislation in the UK

Race Relations Act 1976

This was legislation that was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the specific aim of attempting to eradicate discrimination on racial grounds.

The legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against a person because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background or their nationality. It covers areas such as employment and job hunting, housing, the provision of goods and services and education. It covers and applies not only to minority groups but is there also to protect white people as well.

The Act which was introduced in 1976 also established the Commission for Racial Equality. The Act added to and incorporated existing previous legislation such as the  Race Relations Act 1965 and also the Race Relations Act 1968. In 2001 amendments were added to the Act requiring public authorities (who had previously be exempt) to promote race equality.

On a practical level the 1976 Act aims to protect individuals in most every day situations like the provision of health and work to ensure that people are not treated less favorably because of their race. At work you are protected at every stage of your employment, including recruitment, applying for promotion, your salary and also disciplinary measures or action taken against you.

It aims to prohibit and tackle both direct and indirect racism as well as victimization and harassment. The Act also makes it unlawful to:-

Instructions to Discriminate – this is where encouragement is given to other to discriminate against people.

Pressure to Discriminate – it is also against the law to pressurize someone to act in a racist way.

Aiding Unlawful Acts – A person can be fined for assisting anyone who is acting in a racist way.

There are certain exemptions where it is permissable to dicriminate. More information about this can be found in our Genuine Occupational Qualification page.

Related topics:

Ethnic classification

Race relations

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975

The Equal Pay Act 1970



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