Race-related harassment: we'll help you fight back

Rahul* had been the victim of religious and race-related harassment at work for more than two years. When things came to a head, he sought support from RCN legal services and received more than £6,000

“The person I sat next to at work had been making derogatory comments about my race and religion for a long time,” says nurse Rahul. “It was often dismissed as banter. But it wasn’t banter at all.

“One day at a team lunch, this person said some very explicit and offensive things which were directed at me and my religious beliefs. Everyone felt uncomfortable and my line manager reported the person to HR.”

Rahul decided to take out a formal grievance and phoned RCN Direct for advice. 

“They put me in touch with a lawyer from RCN legal services,” he says. “My lawyer was amazing right from the start. They explained everything really clearly and told me what would happen at each stage. They also gave me lots of options, and made suggestions, but I made all the decisions myself. 

“I felt very supported, which is so important when you’ve decided to take the daunting step of pursuing legal action. I’d carried two years of hurt and it was emotional. I felt uncomfortable sitting next to the person who’d caused that.”

I felt very supported, which is so important when you've decided to take the daunting step of pursuing legal action

Returning to work

Rahul’s grievance was successful, and the RCN lawyer assisted him with securing a settlement. He received an apology from the person who had been harassing him and was awarded more than £6,000 through ACAS’ early conciliation process.

The perpetrator had to undertake training and the issue was raised with the organisation’s equality and diversity board so lessons could be learned.

Rahul, who needed to take two months off due to anxiety and stress, was able to return to work with a structured support plan in place. He is no longer sat next to the person who made his life miserable for so long.  

“For me, the money wasn’t the priority although it was phenomenal to receive that amount,” says Rahul. “The apology was the most important thing, as well as being able to return to work without feeling at risk of being bullied. I wanted closure on the matter on a personal level, but I also wanted my employer to recognise the need to protect people from this sort of harassment.

“The support I received from the RCN was fantastic and the communication from my lawyer was second to none.”

*The member's name has been changed

Do you need legal support?

The RCN has the largest in-house specialist legal team of any union or professional body in the UK.

If you need help with work-related problems, or have been referred to the NMC, we have the expertise to advise and represent you.

We cover all aspects of employment law from unfair dismissals and redundancies to complex reorganisations, whistleblowing, TUPE, equal pay and discrimination cases. And, if you need free legal advice on non-work matters, we can help with that too.

To find out more, call 0345 772 6100 or visit our legal support pages.

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