How businesses can tackle hate crime in the workplace

Police are urging people to report hate crimes in the workplace.
Police are urging people to report hate crimes in the workplace.

According to reports, hate crimes in the UK have recently risen by 42 per cent in recent times.

Police say the spike in reports is the worst on record, with incidents including buildings daubed with abusive slogans and cards with offensive messages distributed.

Faced with aggressive or violent customers who abuse staff or even threaten them, what rights do business owners have to respond to hate crime?

Experts from leading law firm DAS Law have drawn up the following advice:

lIf a customer behaves in an abusive or threatening manner, a shop owner has the right to refuse to serve them. Technically, a shop owner can refuse to serve any customer – as long as the reason for the refusal is not in itself discriminatory. Committing a hate crime is a valid reason.

lIf people on the street outside the business premises harass customers or stage a demonstration against the business, the owner should contact the police immediately.

lAn employer has a duty to protect their staff from being abused and harassed because of their race. If that harassment is perpetuated by a third party – for example, a customer – the employer could be at risk of a claim for constructive unfair dismissal if they fail to act.