The relevant legislation is now the Equality Act 2010
The main provisions of this Act are:
(a) It is unlawful to discriminate on racial grounds. This equates to discrimination on grounds of :
- ethnic or national origins
- nationality (This latter term means that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are treated as independent nations for this law. So if you suffer harassment, or you are offended by the “banter at work, because you are English and working in Scotland for example, this is likely to be protected, and you can make a claim to Tribunal of Race Discrimination.
There are plans to introduce protection on the grounds of Caste, but there is no date for this. Case law has suggested that this characteristic is probably already protected by the law.
The Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate during recruitment (including any arrangements made for recruitment), promotion, training or transfer, terms and conditions of employment and also discipline and dismissal.
(b) Employers may also be liable for the unlawful discriminatory acts carried out by employees in the course of their employment. The only defence employers have in this situation is to demonstrate that they took such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the employees from carrying out these acts.
You are protected if you suffer abuse or harassment in Association with a race related issue; so for example if you are offended by the banter aimed at you because you are in a mixed race relationship, this will be covered.