Payout for IT worker rejected as white & male

A computer expert who was turned down for a job as a policeman on the grounds he is a white male has been awarded compensation of £2,500.

An employment tribunal heard that Matt Powell, 30, applied to join Gloucestershire Constabulary last October along with 108 other white men.

Mr Powell, an IT worker, was told he had made it through to the second stage of the recruitment process but then, like his peers, he received a letter stating he had been "randomly deselected."

He told the tribunal's chairman Clive Tooner that he felt a 'wrong had been done,' especially as he had wanted to be a policeman since he was a child.

"I didn't come here for the money. I just want to be heard," he reportedly told the hearing, before saying he believed the force had unfairly discriminated against him.

After his application was rejected, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) began an investigation.

The Commission found that the force had gone too far in driving diversity through its ranks, sources told Contractor UK yesterday.

"We pointed out that they could be in breach of the existing legislation and we have since received assurances from them that they will comply with the law and change their practices," an EOC spokesman said.

The Commission for Racial Equality, joined by the EOC, is said to have found Mr Powell was unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of race and sex.

The tribunal agreed, citing "injury to personal feelings" at the hands of the force as deserving of £2,500 in compensation.

The Bristol hearing also heard that the force rejected two-thirds of all white applicants, who like Mr Powell, had been taken in by the constabulary's November recruitment drive.

It is understood that every ethnic minority candidate who responded to the same advert was invited to an assessment centre.

"When we found out after independent investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) that it wasn't lawful, we accepted that.

"We were trying to advance diversity in the force and we thought at the time that this was lawful, positive action," a police spokesman told the tribunal.

Nigel Tillot, Mr Powell's solicitor, said the case clearly shows how far public authorities can go in positive discrimination.

"What they cannot do is discriminate against white males when it comes to job applications," he was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Reflecting yesterday, a spokeswoman for CRE said: "A useful document to look at is theEmployment Code - this sets out what employers [and employment agencies] should and should not do when it comes to recruitment. It is a good practical piece of guidance for hirers of all size."

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