Positive discrimination in recruitment? Think again!
An Employment Tribunal has ruled that Cheshire Police’s recruitment process discriminated against a white heterosexual male candidate who was rejected after positive action was applied to a pool of 127 applicants who passed the interview stage. The Tribunal heard that the applicant was easily in the top quartile of applicants and that he would otherwise have been a very strong and able candidate.
The Police Chief wanted to improve the diversity profile of her workforce and insisted that candidates with ethnic backgrounds were treated more positively than the white candidate.
Importantly the tribunal ruled that employers should only apply positive action (s.159 of the Equality Act 2010) as a “tie-breaker” between candidates of “equal merit” at the decision stage of the recruitment process and not to either actively promote a minority candidate over another.
This is a step change in recruitment and may result in many public sector bodies having to rethink their positive discrimination policies in recruitment!