White heterosexual male and not disabled has been unlawfully discriminated

legal updates

The Equality Act 2010 does not protect a male over female.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

In a first case of its kind, Liverpool Employment Tribunal rules that Mr Matthew Furlong was unlawfully discriminated and denied his dream job simply because he was a white heterosexual male and did not have a disability.

Mr Furlong applied for a police constable job with Cheshire Police. He made it through to the interview stage and was very impressive at his interview with positive feedback from the panel. He still did not get the job.

It was revealed that the police force, having been previously criticised for lack of diversity, implemented a ‘positive discrimination policy’ giving preference to BME, LGBT, female and disabled candidates, that is those candidates who the force considered to have a protected characteristic. In this process, it was of course overlooked that the characteristics of being a heterosexual white male are equally protected.

The Equality Act 2010 does not protect a male over female, or the other way round, or a black job candidate over white, and so on. The Act says that, with a few exceptions, an individual cannot be treated differently and suffer a detriment on the basis of a protected characteristic, of which there are nine: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It is wrong to discriminate a gay man over a straight man, for example, but it is equally wrong to discriminate a straight man over gay.

The constabulary sought to rely on a specific exception to this general prohibition, which permits giving preference in recruitment and promotion to candidates with a protected characteristic who suffer a disadvantage or are under-represented in that particular activity and who are as qualified. Say, a company is recruiting a middle manager and has a man and a woman who are equally qualified. If the gender balance in the middle management of this company is skewed towards men, the company would be allowed to give the job to the woman for the mere fact she is a woman to address the gender inequality.

This was not the case with Mr Furlong. He was well qualified for the job and had impressive qualifications. The constabulary selected 127 candidates after the interview stage, and then gave priority to the underrepresented candidates: candidates from LGBT, with disabilities, candidates whose English was their second language, to name a few.
The Tribunal was not at all convinced that all 127 candidates were equally qualified. Had the recruitment process been fair and had it taken into account the specific qualification of the candidates, Mr Furlong would have been at the top and would have been given the job.

The Tribunal’s conclusion that Mr furlong suffered direct discrimination is hardly surprising. The case now awaits another hearing to determine the amount of compensation due, which can be expected to be substantial.


Leading experts in print, promotional clothing, staff uniforms, branded merchandise and PPE. Involution is your brand partner for promotional marketing and workwear, a one-stop-shop for your branded marketing needs for any business size and industry.

Kiril MoskovchukLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Change management

The consequences of failing to manage workplace change effectively can increase employee resistance and deplete employee engagement.

Can a notice to terminate employment be withdrawn?

An employee’s refusal to agree to treat the notice as ineffective and to continue employment may have serious consequences.

The primary purpose of a contract of apprenticeship is training

If you take on an apprentice it is vital you have an apprenticeship agreement in place which is a contract of service.

Pandemic impact on annual leave entitlement

The change in March 2020 allowed for four weeks of annual leave to be carried over. So, as a reminder, any carried over leave must be used in 2022!

Right to work – adjusted checks extended to 30 September 2022

Job applicants and existing employees can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals.

Changes to pre-employment checks on the right to work in the UK

The current laws regarding pre-employment checks on foreign recruits is due to change from 6 April 2022.

End of COVID-19 restrictions – Employment implications

Until 24 March 2022, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will continue to be available to employees who self-isolate.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.