Unions want private firms to be brought under the scope of race relations laws governing the public sector when the Equalities Review reports to the government next week.
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 gives public authorities a statutory general duty to promote race equality.
The Transport and General Workers Union told Personnel Today that the Equalities Review – chaird by Trevor Phillips – should tell the government to give private firms the same legal responsibilities.
The aim of the race relations law is to make promoting race equality central to the way public authorities work. It says that organisations must have “due regard” for the need to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial groups.
“The employment rate for ethnic minorities has remained lower [than the UK average] for more than 30 years,” said Collette Cork-Hurst, Transport and General Workers Union national secretary for equalities.
The Equalities Review, which is due to report its findings on 28 February, was set up two years ago by the government to investigate the causes of persistent discrimination and inequality in UK society.