UK Man Wins Suit Claiming He Wasn't Hired by Police Because He's White, Straight

Matthew Furlong Via Facebook

(Edge) Two years ago, Matthew Furlong now 25 — applied for a job as a police officer in Britain, but wasn't hired. The force was in the midst of a diversity drive, reports UK newspaper the Telegraph, and that, Furlong claimed in a suit, was the reason his application was rejected.

Furlong told the press that he wanted to be a police officer like his father, who is with the Cheshire Constabulary. But when his application was turned down, he said, it "shattered my confidence in the police recruitment system," the Telegraph reported.

Furlong also claimed that he would have landed a job with the force had he "lied on my interview form and said I was bisexual."

An employment tribunal agreed. 

"Positive action is an incredibly important tool to aid diversity in the workforce," said lawyer Jennifer Ainscough, the Telegraph article reported, "but this case is a reminder that it must be applied correctly to ensure that employers still recruit candidates based on merit above all else."

The force's deputy chief constable, Julie Cooke, said that the force had accepted "the findings of the tribunal" and added that the department had now "looked very carefully at our entire recruitment practice."

The Cheshire Constabulary, ironically, had come under fire several years ago for a lack of black officers," reported the BBC.

The BBC story also says the Constabulary maintains that it had interviewed a number of qualified candidates and diversity considerations only came into play when candidates were equally qualified. The tribunal, however, ruled that diversity considerations were used in a way that resulted in discriminatory hiring.

Cooke told the media that the police force had "the best of intentions to attract candidates from diverse communities," and added that "and at no time were the standards of our recruits reduced." 

Added Cooke, "It is important for us, and for candidates, that the process is fair and transparent and that all candidates are treated in a fair and consistent manner."

Furlong, 25, will begin training for a career in law enforcement in the fall, the BBC article said.