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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 14:39 GMT
Workplace race code gets update
Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips hopes the update will help thousands of workers
Ethnic minority employees are to benefit from the first update for more than two decades of the equality code to eliminate racism from the workplace.

The code, issued by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), can be used as evidence in employment tribunals.

It has been revised to take account of new laws and modern working practices.

CRE chief Trevor Phillips said he hoped thousands of workers, and employers, would be helped by the update, which comes into force next April.

"This guidance has been produced to help employers feel comfortable and confident about meeting their legal requirements under the Race Relations Act - and their feedback has been invaluable.

"We hope it will help them embrace changes to the law and to be modern and progressive employers," Mr Phillips said.

Case law

The CRE's original code of practice on racial equality in employment came into effect in 1984.

Its updating was a key recommendation in a 2003 report commissioned by the Prime Minister's Office.

Last year the CRE carried out a three-month consultation with employers and employers' groups about changes to its workplace race equality guidance and received 177 responses.

The new code provides employers with more real-life employment tribunal case law examples and detailed guidance on topics such as ethnic monitoring, anti-harassment and racial equality policies.

It also contains specific recommendations for trade unions and other membership organisations in their capacity as both employers and providers of services.

Additionally there are recommendations for employment and recruitment agencies and a separate chapter on the rights and responsibilities of workers.

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