Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is when someone is treated with prejudice or less favourably because of their race. ‘Race’ includes colour, nationality, citizenship and ethnic or national origins.
Racial discrimination does not need to be deliberate; someone may be discriminating against a person or group without the realisation or intention of doing so, but this could still count as discrimination.
Race is a protected characterisitc under the Equality Act 2010 and therefore racial discrimination is often unlawful. 

Direct (Racial) Discrimination

This happens when someone treats a person or group less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their race. 
An example of direct discrimination is a letting agency not letting a flat to someone or an employer refusing to appoint them to a particular role specifically because of their race.  

Indirect (Racial) Discrimination 

This happens when an organisation or entity has a particular policy or approach to their work that puts people of a particular racial group at a disadvantage.
An example of indirect disrimination is a university or employer insisting that candidates should have UK qualifications, the banning of wearing headscarves, or insisting on the wearing of skirts at work.
Sometimes indirect race discrimination can be permitted if the organisation is able to show that there is a legitimate reason. This is known as objective justification. 
An example of objective justification is a bank refusing an asylum seeker a current account, stating they need to have been resident in the UK for 12 months and have a permanent address. The bank would need to prove that its policy was necessary for business reasons (such as to prevent fraud or money laundering) and that there was no practical alternative. 

Racial Harassment
Racial harassment is any unwanted behaviour which a person finds offensive, intimidating, humiliating, hostile or degrading, which occurs because of their race. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination.
Unwanted behaviour could include:

  • spoken or written words or abuse
  • images and graffiti
  • unwanted touching, pushing, grabbing or other invasion of personal space
  • offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, facial expressions, jokes, pranks, mockery or mimicking
  • ignoring or inhibiting participation such as excluding someone from a social activity or conversation

Race Hate Crime/Incidents

'Hate crimes' and 'hate incidents' are terms used to describe acts of violence or hostility directed at people or property because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. Race hate crimes and incidents are motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a particular race or races.

A race hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their race.

A race hate incident is any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, that is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race. 

You do not have to be a member of the group the hostility or prejudice is aimed at to experience a hate crime or incident.

Bath Spa University has a zero-tolerance approach to all racial discrimination, harassment and hate incidents; any member of the community who is a victim of such experiences will receive our full support.

Reporting any incidents allows us to better understand and deal with what is happening. You may be querying whether the incident is serious enough to be reported, and we would encourage you to do so, particularly if you are distressed and want to speak about it or have a record of what happened.


There are two ways you can tell us what happened