How to file a complaint for racial prejudice?
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has revealed that he and his wife have filed complaints of racial discrimination on the grounds that their two-year-old was unfairly rejected from a place in a Tayside nursery.
The couple say their daughter was denied a place, while other children with “non-ethnic” names were offered places at the Little Scholars Nursery.
But what can you do if you think you’ve been racially discriminated against in some of the most important areas of your life like education, employment, healthcare and housing?
We have found that the processes are cumbersome, long and often expensive, which would likely have a direct and negative impact on those most likely to face discrimination in the first place.
What is racial discrimination?
Racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of their race and can cover things like a person’s color, nationality, citizenship and ethnicity.
It is illegal in Scotland to racially discriminate against someone in their work, education, accommodation or when something is done by a public body, such as the NHS.
Discrimination can be characterized as “direct” or “indirect”.
Direct discrimination occurs when one person is treated less favorably than another because of their race – for example, if someone is refused a job because of their race.
Indirect discrimination occurs when there is a rule, policy or practice that people of a particular racial group are less likely to encounter, such as insisting that someone has British qualifications.
Report racism in schools and colleges
In education, it is illegal for public and private schools and colleges to discriminate against someone on the basis of race – this covers admission policies, treatment of students, exclusions and decisions about needs. special educational needs or disabilities of a student.
Schools also have a duty to protect pupils against racism from other pupils, both on school premises and on the way to school.
As a first step, complaints should be addressed to the school principal, but if this is unsuccessful, they can be referred to the education department of your local authority.
If this still does not succeed, then racist incidents can be reported to the police.
However, racist incidents at school where a child is assaulted are criminal offenses and the police should be notified immediately.
If the incident involves a college or university, you must first use the institution’s own complaints procedure. However, if the college is funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, you can also complain to them.
If this is not successful, the complaint can be lodged with the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO).
Regarding Mr. Yousaf’s grievance with a preschool daycare, he lodged his complaint with the Inspectorate of Care – if he is not satisfied with the response of the Inspectorate of Care, he can also bring his complaint to the SPSO.
Fighting racism at work
Procedures to combat racial discrimination in the workplace can cover all employers and employees, as well as agency workers, trainees and the self-employed.
It can cover matters of recruitment, promotion, training, compensation and benefits, dismissal and dismissal, as well as terms and conditions of employment.
Initially, complaints can be made directly to your employer, although you will need evidence such as the dates and times of the incidents, as well as email and mail chains.
However, if that does not solve the problem, you can go to an employment tribunal.
To make a complaint, you must complete an online form with Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) or call them on 0300 123 1122.
As a first step, Acas will try to reach an agreement with your employer, called “early conciliation”.
The early conciliation must begin within three months less a day from the date of the fact about which you are complaining (or six months less a day in the case of statutory severance pay or a tie remuneration).
Once the early conciliation is complete, you will get either a “COT3 agreement”, which is a legal agreement to which the employee and the employer must go to the Acas site.
Once this has started, a judge will review the request to see if it can be taken any further and will overrule any request that he or she does not think will succeed.
If the request is abandoned, you can request a review, but this will only work if you provide more evidence to change the judge’s mind.
A court can order your employer to pay compensation, recommend your employer to do something, or make a statement that your employer has discriminated against you.
Take action against racism in housing
Legal action can be taken if you are a victim of racial discrimination in housing.
You can contact your landlord, the local authority or the housing provider in the first instance to file a complaint, but if this is not successful, you can take a complaint to court.
However, it can be expensive, as there is a fee to file the claim with the courts, you have to pay for the claim to be served on the other party, there are additional charges to be covered during the case, attorney’s fees, and the other party’s legal costs if you lose.
If you are asking for compensation of up to Â£ 5,000, you can file a ‘simple procedure’ claim, which does not require a lawyer and will incur lower costs.
You can do this online through the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service’s online civil portal.
If you can’t apply online, you can fill out a paper form with your local sheriff’s court, although you may need to explain why you can’t do it online.
But if the claim is over Â£ 5,000 you will need to take ‘ordinary cause action’ which involved filing a summons costing Â£ 127 – this can still be done on the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service.
Complaints can also be sent to the SPSO if you are a tenant from a local authority or registered social landlord – although this service is free, you often need to provide proof that you have already filed a complaint directly with the landlord and received a response that you consider unsatisfactory.
Refusal of treatment or racism in a health or social care setting
Racism can also occur in healthcare settings, including being denied treatment, receiving substandard treatment, or experiencing behavior that you find distressing or offensive.
In the NHS, you must first speak to a member of staff involved in your care, but if you do not want to do so, you can speak directly to the comments and complaints officer at your board of health.
Most GP surgeries, dental offices, pharmacies, and opticians will have their own complaints procedure and you should contact the practice or store manager first – although you can ask for help from the complaints team from your NHS board.
However, if you are not satisfied with the response from any of these healthcare providers, you can file your complaint with the SPSO.
When it comes to residential care homes, racial discrimination can include denial of a place in a home, neglect or abuse on the basis of race.
Again, you should follow the initial complaints procedure of the care home or the local authority if the home is managed by the council.
If these attempts to resolve the issue fail, the complaint can be filed with the SPSO.