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Discrimination and the Law

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The Race Relations Act 1968 extended the scope of the 1965 law by making it applicable to housing, employment and other matters. An improved Race Relations Act was framed in 1976 mostly in accordance with the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975.
The three main types of racial discrimination which were to be made unlawful under this act were direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and victimisation. The primary objective of theRace Relations Act of 1976 was to form the legal foundation for protection from racial discrimination in the fields of employment, education, training, housing and the provision of goods, facilities and services. Under this law, ‘racial discrimination’ means treating a person less favourably than others on racial grounds – meaning race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. Although this law protects one against people’s actions, it cannot change their opinions or beliefs. (Home Office, n.d.)
This Act resulted in the setting up of a Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) as a statutory enforcement and implementation body to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote equal opportunities and harmonious race relations between people of difference races. The CRE has the power to undertake formal investigations into discrimination charges and to represent victims of discrimination.
The Crime and Disorder Act of 199…
The Public Order Act,1986
On 9 June 2005, the Government published the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill which makes incitement to religious and racial hatred an offense under the The Public Order Act of 1986. Thereby, this Act makes it illegal to incite racial hatred, whether through words or action, such as distributing racist leaflets. Penalties are severe for anyone convicted of a racially motivated crime. (BBC, 2003)
The race relation and racial hatred legislations have always protected Sikhs and Jews as the Courts have identified them as ‘ethnic groups’ according to their interpretation of the Act. Muslims, however, are not protected as they are not considered to be an ethnic group under the law. Since hate crimes against Muslims have increased during the post 9/11 period and as Muslims are not considered to be an ethnic group, it poses a serious problem. The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill tries to amend this situation
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations, 2003
The Employment Equality regulations makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate, harrass or victimise an employee on the basis of any religion, religious belief, or similar philosophical belief.
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act provides new powers to tackle racism in public authorities by eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity. This Act makes it statutory for public authorities like all government and local government services including the Police to promote race equality. Public authorities should ensure that racial equality considerations are part of everything they do. This Act gives the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)