Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about racist talk:
In the UK, can a person complain about a racist comment, even if they did not hear it?
We aren’t experts about UK laws (or U.S. laws, for that matter!), but can tell you generally, that in both countries, an employee can report any rules violations of which he or she becomes aware. It’s then up to management or HR to decide if the complaint is valid or should be investigated. For example, if a coworker tells you that Jim, another coworker, made a very racist comment while in the workplace, you could report that to your supervisor, giving the name of the coworker who told you about it. The manager would then contact the first employee to find out more. You would have to give the name of the person hearing it and they–or at least someone who was present–would need to verify it and verify the context of the remark.