A police force has been found guilty of discrimination after it refused to give a “well prepared” potential recruit a job because he was a white, heterosexual man.
As the first reported case of its kind in the UK, an employment tribunal in Liverpool found Cheshire Police to have used positive action to discriminate by deciding to reject 25-year-old Matthew Furlong, despite being told after the interview that Mr Furlong “could not have done any more.”
The force rejected Mr Furlong while in the midst of a diversity drive after a report found it was one of only four constabularies to have no black officers in 2015.
Mr Furlong, a graduate in particle physics and cosmology, was later told he had lost out to other candidates, leading his father, a serving detective inspector at Cheshire Police for more than 20 years, to lodge a complaint.
In a landmark case, the tribunal ruled Mr Furlong to be a victim of discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, and sexual orientation when he applied to be a constable in 2017.
The tribunal said that while positive action can be used to boost diversity in the workforce, it should only be applied to distinguish between candidates who were all equally well qualified for a role.
Despite the tribunal going in his favour, Mr Furlong has said he is no longer sure whether he wants to join the police force. Mr Furlong concluded:
“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.”
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