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Amendments to Race Relations Act

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The Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 have been laid before parliament.

If passed, they are due to come into force on 19th July 2003. The amendments are required under the EC Racial Treatment Directive of July 2000 which required all countries to amend domestic legislation by - guess when - 19th July 2003.

The main changes are:
• setting out a new definition of indirect discrimination, bringing it into line with the definition under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975;

• creating a new definition of harassment and making harassment an express offence;

• introducing a new defence where race is a "genuine and determining requirement" for the job

• statutory reversal of the burden of proof, in line with s63A of the SDA 1975, so that if an Applicant proves a prima facie case of indirect discrimination, the burden shifts to the Respondent to prove that it was not racially discriminatory