Discrimination in the Workplace

Employers must be aware that they may be held liable for their employee’s alleged racist behaviour.

The Equality Act 2010 expressly states that anything done by an employee in the course of their employment is treated as having also been done by the employer, regardless of whether the employee acts are done with the employer’s knowledge or approval. A finding of racial discrimination can have huge consequences both financially and on the reputation of employers. In serious cases of discrimination, in addition to any financial compensation a Tribunal has the ability to make an award for injury. What should employers be doing? It can be a defence for employers if an employee has been trained in equality and diversity, even if they have discriminated contrary to the training given. In the Day v Alloga case, in the company’s favour was the fact that there was a record of the Claimant having attended a recent training course on equality. Both employers and employees need to be mindful and respectful towards cultural differences at work particularly where individuals from different cultures may find themselves working alongside each other, having to understand and appreciate the nuances of language and behaviours.