Category Archives: racial discrimination

Eliminate Racial Discrimination Day

Today, 21 March, is Eliminate Racial Discrimination Day. The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed with a series of events and activities worldwide on March 21 each year. The day aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequences. It also encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination.
Racial discrimination is an unpleasant activity that can take many forms.
Direct discrimination
This occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of racial reasons. colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.  eg racist abuse or excluding someone because of their race or colour etc.
Indirect discrimination
This occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of criteria that is imposed in relation to race/colour/nationality that can not be objectively justified eg a shop that insists on female workers wear a skirt and overall.  Muslim women must cover their legs and can not comply with such a condition.
A person harasses another on grounds of race or ethnic or national origins when he or she engages in unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating the other person’s dignity or creating an intimidating/hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
This occurs with unfair treatment of an employee who has made a complaint of race discrimination.
In the UK all of the above are unlawful in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.  Employers should have an equal opportunities policy in place, training for managers and employees and monitoring processes to ensure compliance.
Employees who feel they have been discriminated against may complain in an employment tribunal.


Racism in Football – Lessons We Should Learn

Racism in football has long been making the headlines.  The most recent case is Nicolas Anelka a West Brom player who made the controversial quenelle gesture after scoring a goal against West Ham.  The quenelle gesture is an anti semetic sign and it is said Anelka was supporting Dieudonné M’bala M’bala an anti Zionist French comedian who has recently been in the media for his comments.  Anelka has been banned by the Football Association.  Zoopla, a sponsor of West Brom has now withdrawn its support.  Racism has long been inherent in football, but there are lessons we should learn.

At the beginning of the twentieth century Walter Tull was the first black man to play for Tottenham Hotspur.  It is believed that his glittering career was cut short by racism; he was dropped from the first team then sold to Northampton Town.

In 1914 Tull enlisted in the Footballers Battalion (Middlesex Regiment).  He was promoted three times after leading a raid across enemy lines.  He was then recommended for a Military Cross for outstanding bravery and leadership, however, he never received this.  His family were informed that he had been recommended by two fellow officers who broke the rules to do so.  According to the manual of Military Law infantry officers had to be of pure European descent.  Tull was killed in action in the Somme in 1918.  In 1999 Northampton Town unveiled a memorial in his honour.  Hopes are growing that finally he will be recognised for the sacrifice he made.  A play about his life is being unveiled at a theatre in Bolton.

In December 2012 Liverpool’s Suarez was given an eight match ban and a £40,000 fine after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Evra.  In July ex-England captain John Terry was in a high profile racism case, but he was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.  There is a long way to go to reduce racism in football.  Many management and boardroom positions are all white and all male, there is no diversity.   There is evidence to show that homophobia is a bigger problem than discrimination.

Racial discrimination is damaging to all organisations, not just the football industry.  It occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.  The Equality Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against other employees because of these characteristics.

ACAS describes four areas of discrimination:

  • direct discrimination: treating someone less favourably because of their actual or perceived race, or because of the race of someone with whom they associate
  • indirect discrimination: can occur where there is a policy, practice or procedure which applies to all workers, but particularly disadvantages people of a particular race. An example could be a requirement for all job applicants to have GCSE Maths and English: people educated in countries which don’t have GCSEs would be discriminated against if equivalent qualifications were not accepted.
  • harassment: when unwanted conduct related to race has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual
  • victimisation: unfair treatment of an employee who has made or supported a complaint about racial discrimination.
Employers should have an equal opportunities policy in place that is well communicated to the workforce.  Training should be provided for employees and managers so everyone knows how it operates.
Racism has its roots in the difference between skin colour, yet what everyone needs to realise is that there is an elegant theory that we are all descended out of Africa and we all used to be black.  Our skins became white overtime because we only need a few minutes to sunshine to manufacture sufficient vitamin D whereas black people need one hour in the sun.  This is evidence of natural selection which flies in the face of the human race judging everyone’s differences .

Tackling Racism in Football

Racism in football has been in the news several times in recent months. John Terry is charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and now Mark McCammon claims he and other black players at Gillingham Football Club were treated differently to white players and is making an employment tribunal claim for racial discrimination and unfair dismissal to be heard later this year.  The Prime Minister is aiming to crack down on racism in football and will be examining the lack of black coaches, managers and referees in the game.  The Football Association are now looking at tougher punishments for players and managers accused of racist behaviour.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of race. Race includes colour, nationality and ethnic/national origins.  It doesn’t matter if the discrimination is done on purpose or not. What counts is whether, as a result of an employer’s actions, an employee is treated less favourably than someone else because of race. The Equality Act 2010 Act protects all racial groups, regardless of their race, colour, nationality, or national or ethnic origins. Every part of employment is included; recruitment, terms and conditions, pay and benefits, status, training, promotion and transfer opportunities, right through to redundancy and dismissal. There are four kinds of unlawful behaviour.

a) direct discrimination – where race is an effective cause for less favourable treatment eg not being offered a job because of a particular nationality,

b) indirect discrimination – where rules or policies are applied to everyone but which particularly disadvantage members of a particular group if that can not be justified eg qualifications required for a job post which have only been gained in the UK,

c) harassment – participating in or allowing or encouraging unwanted behaviour that offends somone or creates a hostile atmosphere eg making racist remarks,

d) victimisation – treating someone badly because they have complained or supported someone bringing a complaint about discrimination eg taking disciplinary action against someone as punishment for their complaint about race discrimination.

Employers need to have a clear policy and procedure in place that gives clear guidelines for conduct and how misconduct will be dealt with.  The FA would do well to heed this advice.