Advice Story 6: Race Discrimination

Luther’s story

I am Black British, and was born in Northamptonshire. I worked in a warehouse with my former employer for several years. Over that time a number of my white work colleagues had made derogatory and racist comments and said I looked like a monkey. I tried to ignore these comments and get on with my work at first, but eventually I wrote to my employers. My employer said they would investigate but came to the conclusion that they did not believe my version of events. One of the managers that I reported these incidents to told me on another occasion that I was a golliwog and a Nigger so I reported this again to more senior managers, who denied that any such incidents occurred. I found this time very stressful and went to my family doctor, who was shocked when she heard what was happening to me. I knew what was happening at work was wrong and really did not know how I could stand up for myself.

I contacted Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC) who lodged a claim for racial discrimination for me and also sent an Equality Act 2010 Questionnaire on my behalf. In the replies to the Equality Act 2010 Questionnaire and the response it was made clear that the employers had been wrong and there was clear proof that I had been discriminated against.

The matter was settled and I had a four figure settlement. Getting the settlement, was an achievement after months of racial harassment and just not being taken seriously or believed. Had I not approached NREC, I don’t know how I would have got a result from challenging what was going on. I probably would have just left my job and would have been quite despondent. Since getting support for NREC I feel a lot more able to stand up for myself. I have started a new job where I am much happier, and I have received cash from the settlement so I can put the matter behind me and get on with my life.

*The names have been changed to hide the identity of the Claimants and Respondents.

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