Your protections under the Equality Act


The Equality Act states that you must not be discriminated against on the basis of your race.

In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. For example, you may have Chinese national origins and be living in Britain with a British passport.

Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. This means a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race.

A racial group can be made up of two or more distinct racial groups, for example black Britons, British Asians, British Sikhs, British Jews, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers.

You may be discriminated against because of one or more aspects of your race, for example people born in Britain to Jamaican parents could be discriminated against because they are British citizens, or because of their Jamaican national origins.

We have successfully won many cases on behalf of our members related to race discrimination. But the law is complex. You need to act quickly when making an allegation and to make sure there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation.

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Circumstances when being treated differently due to age may be lawful

There are scenarios where a producer or engager, may engage in activity where differential treatment based on race is lawful. This is where there’s a request for an occupational requirement. For example a breakdown may seek to cast someone of a specific racial or ethnic group for reasons of authenticity.

positive action measure may also be lawfully applied to overcome historical barriers to gaining work or work experience for a specific racial or ethnic group.

The example below of our work with Audible to overcome historical barriers for Black and minority ethnic members is an example of a positive action measure

Cultural Appropriation Policy

Read our guidelines to help members avoid cultural appropriation in their work

Equity Policy on Cultural Appropriation

Our work to combat race discrimination

We are an active, anti-racist trade union. Read our statement of intent by General Secretary Paul W Fleming to take action that addresses inequalities and discrimination based on race.


Equity’s Race Equality Committee (REC) is keen to overcome the barriers for Black and minority ethnic members to gain work across the audio industry. As a result, we have devised a long-term strategic partnership with Audible (LINK to Audible). The project offers cohorts of Black and minority ethnic members the opportunity for studio time with an experienced audio director to create an audio reel. Participants will be added to the Audible roster of audio artists. They will be also be offered workshops provided by Equity’s Audio Committee on the development and maintenance of an audio career.

Negotiators’ guide to address race inequality and discrimination

We contributed to the TUC’s guide for trade union representatives and officials in negotiating workplace change to address inequalities and discrimination based on race.

The guide outlines historical inequalities in workplace practice that have created barriers for Black and minority ethic workers in gaining equal treatment. For example, by limiting opportunities to gain work.Equity committees and branches use the guide to identify strategic targets to address these barriers.

Guidance for theatre critics on avoiding bias and discriminatory language

There is a long-standing problem of criticism that clearly criticises Black and minority ethnic artists with no objective or artistic purpose. We are tackling the issue through  an innovative partnership with the National Union of Journalists,The Stage and a diverse group of theatre critics. Read previous President Maureen Beattie’s opinion piece on the issue.

Our work has led to the development of constructive advice for critics in avoiding bias and discrimination in their writing. Particularly in relation of race, colour and ethnicity. Read the guidance in this article by Ian Manborde (Equity’s Equalities & Diversity Officer) in an edition of The Stage focusing on racism in theatre criticism.

This work is positioned firmly in the activity addressing racism and antisemitism across the entertainment industry. It features in a Trade Union Co-ordinating Group publication focused on trade union activity fighting racism and the far right in the UK.

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Further advice

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Dignity at work

Advice if you are being bullied, harassed or treated unfairly at work – and if you’re experiencing abuse at home.