The Race Relations Act 1976 was established by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race. The scope of the legislation included discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic and national origin in the fields of employment, the provision of goods and services, education and public functions.
|Long title||An Act to make fresh provision with respect to discrimination on racial grounds and relations between people of different racial groups; and to make in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 amendments for bringing provisions in that Act relating to its administration and enforcement into conformity with the corresponding provisions in this Act.|
|Citation||1976 c. 74|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales; Scotland|
|Royal assent||22 November 1976|
|Commencement||1 September 1977|
|Repealed||1 October 2010|
|Repealed by||Equality Act 2010|
|Relates to||Race Relations Amendment Act 2000|
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Text of the Race Relations Act 1976 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk.|
In the field of employment, section 7 of the Act extended protection to "contract workers", that is, someone who works (or is prevented from working) for a person but is employed not by that person ("the principal") but by another person, who supplies the worker under a contract between the principal and the worker's employer. Typically this clause protects the rights of agency workers to be protected from racial discrimination. This provision was reviewed in a 2010 legal case, Leeds City Council v Woodhouse and Another, in which the courts opted for "a broad reading" of section 7 and the type of employment relationship involved, "so as not to restrict the protection for contract workers". In this particular case it was confirmed that employees of an arms length housing management organisation were protected as contract workers even though the principal had no management control over how their employer dealt with its staff.
The Act also established the Commission for Racial Equality with a view to review the legislation, which was put in place to make sure the Act rules were followed.
The Act incorporated the earlier Race Relations Act 1965 and Race Relations Act 1968 and was later amended by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, notably imposing a statutory duty on public bodies to promote racial equality and to demonstrate that procedures to prevent race discrimination were effective.
The Act was repealed by the Equality Act 2010, which superseded and consolidated previous discrimination law in the UK.
- Leeds City Council v Woodhouse & Anor  EWCA Civ 410
- Andrews, S., Protection for contract workers, Local Government Lawyer, published 8 June 2010, accessed 23 September 2020
- CRE page relating to race relations legislation
- BBC report on the introduction of the race relations Acts
- Text of the Race Relations Act 1976 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk.