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Racial discrimination

redarrow Return to the main racial discrimination section

Assessing a claim for racial discrimination

Having briefly explained those issues, I would like to move on to discuss how the Tribunals assess a claim for racial discrimination. They look to find a comparator. That is they look to compare treatment of one individual against another. If the comparator is treated more favourably than the person with race with the race claim, then it is open to the Tribunal to draw the inference unless there is any evidence to the contrary that the reason for that more favourable treatment of the comparator is racial discrimination.


Let’s go back to Ivan and Fred and change the circumstances and say that Fred now works with Ivan for the same Company and he is Ivan’s Direct Supervisor. He makes the same remark to Ivan and not only that he disciplines Ivan for being late by 2 minutes and he does not discipline Simon who is white when he is late regularly by a quarter of an hour. In these circumstances, the Tribunal could draw the inference that he treats Simon who is white and from this country better than Ivan who is Russian and white from another country because he picks on Ivan and he does not pick on Simon for being late.

This is why the Tribunal look for a comparator, someone to compare too. Sometimes unfortunately, there is no clear comparator of someone to compare to so the Tribunal are obliged then to create the characteristics of a hypothetical comparator and ask themselves the question whether a hypothetical comparator would be treated the same as the person making the claim.

Sometimes, the law will allow discrimination on the basis if a genuine occupational qualification is required.

For example, you advertise for a community worker who you want specifically to work the Asian community and you set up pre-requisite that the person must be able to speak Urdu or Punjabi then you could quite properly not consider someone who is unable to speak those languages and who happens to be white to take on that role because the role specifically requires someone from that community who can speak those two languages in addition to English.

Other examples can include actors applying for a specific role which is well recognised to require a particular member of one race. Although to be fair, the restriction is less often used now than in the past and is genuinely frowned upon even in Shakespeare. Now, black actors have been able to play parts other than Othello because of a changing attitude amongst the theatre going public.

If you are picked on or victimised because you have made a claim to the Employment Tribunal or because you have complained about being racially discriminated against, this can give you a separate right to make a claim of victimisation at the Employment Tribunal.

Racial discrimination is extremely complex and you would require far more detail probably over many pages in this web page with sufficient information for someone contemplating a claim. However, I would also recommend in these circumstances you contact us by e-mail to discuss your case fully.


The site author/owner has endeavoured to give clear information to benefit the reader. The information is no substitute for obtaining specific advice about any claim you may have from a person qualified to give it. The examples, and circumstances described etc bear no relation to any actual case and any resemblance to real circumstances is purely accidental and unintentional. The site author/owner accepts no liability for any mistake, error or inconsistency in the text and the reader should ALWAYS OBTAIN specific advice about his/her own situation. In order to assist the reader, you can give your details so that a qualified advisor can call you free of charge and assist you further via CLAIM EVALUATOR