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There are four types of discrimination: direct, indirectvictimisation and harassment. Let’s go through each one briefly.

Direct discrimination is when someone is treated less favourably because of their race or religion. For example if a female black member of staff isn't treated the same way as a white man.

Indirect discrimination is where a work policy or practice puts a certain group of workers at a disadvantage compared with those who are not.

Victimisation is where a worker is treated unfairly because they have previously complained about racial discrimination at work. Or even when they have given evidence for another workmate in a discrimination case.

Harassment is where a person at work engages another in unwanted conduct. And the harasser has the purpose of creating an intimidating, degrading or humiliating environment for another worker.

With our workplaces becoming more racially diverse, our unions should too. Trade unions are best placed to lead the fight against racism, discrimination and unfair conditions at work.

Having a workplace rep means that workers have someone to turn when they feel they are being discriminated against. Union reps can take on grievances, and see these taken through to employment tribunals.

But tackling individual cases of discrimination doesn’t deal with the causes, whether those are bad bosses, other workers, or policies and procedures.

That’s where collective bargaining comes in. Through collective bargaining, unions can challenge the structures and policies that create unfair and unsafe workplaces.

Our aim is to create working environments that are safe and welcoming, and in which everyone is treated fairly.

Read more about discrimination and trade unions in our negotiators guide.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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