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    British Man Points to Problem of 'Positive Discrimination' Against White Men

    © AFP 2019 / NIKLAS HALLE'N
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    The case comes amidst loudening calls for police forces and other social services across the UK to do more to diversify work forces, including rejecting white heterosexual makes from the jobs market.

    A British man who was turned down for a job in the police force for being white, male and straight has said that he thinks many other men have had similar experiences, according to the Independent.

    An employment tribunal recently found that Cheshire police were guilty of discrimination on grounds of race and gender against 25-year-old particle physics graduate, Matthew Furlong. Mr. Furlong, it was widely reported, found out that his application to become a constable in 2017 was shot down because the force wanted to increase "diversity among its police officers."

    READ MORE: What You (Probably) Don't Know About Positive Discrimination

    "I am not the only person who has been affected by this. There are many other white heterosexual males who undoubtedly left the whole interview process with the impression that they weren't good enough when in fact many were. In addition, I worry for the candidates who have been appointed as they may question whether they were appointed based on merit or whether they simply had a particular protected characteristic," the Independent quotes him as saying. 

    "Had I lied on my interview form and said I was bisexual, for instance, there's a strong possibility I would be working for Cheshire Police now based on a lie," he added.

    Mr Furlong attended his interview with the Cheshire Police and was told by his recruiters that he'd done everything that was necessary as part of the application process to a high standard. Then he was reportedly told out of the blue that there were not enough positions for all 127 people who had passed the interviewing process. Furlong's father, who has been a policeman in the same force for 20 years, subsequently filed a complaint. 

    READ MORE: Swedish Students Forced to Write Essays on 'White Male Privilege' — Reports

    Once the case was taken to the courts, an employment tribunal in Liverpool ruled that the Cheshire force had unjustly used ‘positive action' — the practice of favouring individuals belonging to groups perceived as being historically discriminated against, such as black, gay and disabled people.

    The tribunal ruled that Furlong had been the victim of direct discrimination and argued that while positive action can be used to increase diversity, it should only be utilised in cases where candidates are equally qualified for a role. 

    Mr Furlong's lawyer, Jennifer Ainscough, is quoted by the BBC is saying that, "Matthew was denied his dream job simply because he was a white, heterosexual male. This is the first reported case of its kind in the UK where positive action has been used in a discriminatory way."

    READ MORE: UK NHS Must End ‘White Privilege', Tackle Ethnic Diversity — Trust Chief

    Cheshire Police was one of many police forces criticised back in 2015 by then-Home Secretary, Theresa May, for not having a sufficient number of black police officers. Since then, like others, it has allegedly intensified efforts to recruit people from minority communities.

    A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: "We have been notified of the outcome of the tribunal and will review the findings over the coming days."    

    Tags:
    positive discrimination, white privilege, Racism, Britain, United Kingdom, England
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