Make a Tribunal claim for victimisation after a race discrimination complaint

Content / trigger warning

How to make a Tribunal claim

You can make a Tribunal claim at no cost to the Employment Tribunal, using the ET1 form. Before you submit your claim, you must contact ACAS, the public body who can help to resolve your claim through Early Conciliation. You can write your particulars of claim using our ET1 Particulars of Claim template.

This guide will walk you through making a racial victimisation claim.

How to complete Section 8.2 of the ET1 form

The ET1 form will ask in section 8.2 for the background and details of your claim. The best way to approach this is to write your Particulars of Claim (called a Paper Apart if you are in Scotland). This is where you lay out what happened, what legal claims you’d like to make and your reasoning. 

This section is the heart of your Tribunal claim and is very important and difficult to change later on, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure it’s clear.

How to create your particulars of claim:

  1. Write your ET1 section 8.2

    You’ll normally do this by creating a separate document called the Particulars of Claim (or Paper Apart in Scotland). This sets out the background and details of your claim. Valla offers step-by-step guidance to help you make sure your claims are clear and laid out in the right way.

  2. Convert the file to Rich Text Format (RTF)

    Convert your file to RTF and attach it to the online ET1 form. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can purchase Valla’s Peace of Mind Check and we will sort this out for you.

  3. Submit your ET1 form

    Wait for the Tribunal to acknowledge your claim. They will also send a copy to the Respondent, who will have 28 days to respond.

Specific things to consider in your racial victimisation claim

Laying out your claim

When you are claiming racial victimisation at Tribunal, you want to clearly argue that you have been treated badly because you have made a complaint about race discrimination, or have helped a colleague make a complaint about race discrimination. For example:

  • An employee makes a complaint of race discrimination against their employer. As a result, they are denied promotion.
  • A GP instructs their receptionist not to register anyone with an Asian name. The receptionist would have a claim against the GP if they experienced a detriment as a result of not following the instruction.
  • A senior manager upholds a worker’s grievance about racial harassment. As a result, they are not put forward by their director to attend an important conference on behalf of the company.

With racial victimisation, your employer can be liable for the acts of its employees, as well as the employees being personally responsible. 

Proving your claim

You don’t need to attach evidence to a Tribunal ET1 claim, but it’s a good idea to back up your claims by mentioning the evidence you intend to use. For racial victimisation claims, people typically refer to evidence such as text messages, emails, letters, meeting notes and witness evidence.

What you can ask for in your racial victimisation claim

If you’re successful in a Tribunal claim, you will be awarded a “remedy”. This mainly includes financial compensation, like loss of earnings. It can also include some non-financial remedies too.

Common remedies people ask for at Tribunal

Some of the key remedies you can ask for at Tribunal are:

  • The money you have lost from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • The money that you expect to lose in the future from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • Wages that you are owed, including holiday pay and notice pay.

Discrimination-specific remedies

As well as the common remedies that you can ask for, discrimination-specific claims also have the option to include an “injury to feelings” remedy. This is compensation which you can be awarded when you have been hurt or distressed because you have been discriminated against.

Injury to feelings is generally awarded within one of three “Vento bands” depending on severity:

  • for less serious cases - £1,200 to £11,700
  • for more serious cases - £11,700 to £35,200
  • for the most serious cases - £35,200 to £58,700

For example, Fergal was subjected to victimisation when he raised a grievance about race discrimination, and his employer failed to respond to him and stopped his pay. He made a claim in the Employment Tribunal and his claims of victimisation and race discrimination succeeded in part. He was awarded £6,000 for injury to feelings, although this was then reduced by 50% for contributory conduct.

Real racial victimisation cases you can learn from

Summary: a salesperson complained to their employer that they felt they were being discriminated against because of their skin colour. They were told not to be “childish” and two months later were dismissed from the job.

Total award: £55,256.08

Outcome: the Tribunal found that the salesperson had been victimised. He also claimed direct discrimination but the Tribunal found that there was no evidence of direct race discrimination - the real issue was the way he was treated after his original complaint.

Summary: an employee raised numerous grievances which related to his race. He was dismissed because his employer said he had lost trust and confidence in the organisation. He argued that this was victimisation, but the Employment Tribunal did not agree. He then appealed two points to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”), one of which related to his victimisation claim. 

Outcome: the appeal was successful, meaning that he won the victimisation claim in the end. 

Further reading

Related Tribunal claims 

If you’ve faced racial victimisation at work, there are potentially a number of other discrimination claims that could apply to you:

  • Direct discrimination - where you’ve been treated badly because of your race.
  • Harassment - where you’ve been subjected to racist behaviour that is unwanted. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel intimidated, degraded, or offended.
  • Indirect discrimination - where a company policy or practice negatively affects a group of people of a certain race.
  • Sexual harassment - where you have experienced unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or been treated less favourably because you have either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment. 
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments (note that this only applies to disability) - where your employer has failed to make a reasonable change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability.  
  • Discrimination arising from disability (note that this only applies to disability) - where you’ve been treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself.

You may also be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or another type of employment law. You can download your free Action Toolkit to find out more.