Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 14 January 2023

Race-Based ‘Positive’ Discrimination is Now a Reality in Britain

Positive action’ in recruitment and promotion allows an employer to treat one candidate “more favourably” than another based on his or her race or another “protected characteristic”, if both candidates are “as qualified” for the role. That’s the law, as set down in sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010.

The U.K. Government’s Equalities Office guidance states (italics mine):

Positive action in recruitment and promotion can be used where an employer reasonably thinks that people with a protected characteristic are under-represented in the workforce, or suffer a disadvantage connected to that protected characteristic.

In practice it allows an employer faced with making a choice between two or more candidates who are of equal merit to take into consideration whether one is from a group that is disproportionately under-represented or otherwise disadvantaged within the workforce.

In reality, ‘as qualified’, in so-called tie-breaker situations, is not at all clear cut. In Blackstone’s Guide to the Equality Act 2010, Rachel Crasnow QC discusses the scope for ‘positive action’ in ‘tie-breakers’ (pp. 227-228, bold mine):

The consequence of this is that there must be an objective selection process that assesses specific skills, qualifications, and abilities, but does this mean that candidates have to be qualified or suitable in exactly the same way before a choice based on under- representation is legitimate? The present view is probably not.

The Act uses the phrase ‘as qualified as’ and it was suggested by the Government in 2009 that whilst this does not authorise in any way the use of quotas, it will cover situations where candidates meet the minimum qualifications or the particular requirements for the post, in contrast to a scenario where the applications in question are identical in their qualifications, skills, and abilities.

Thus even if a candidate from a protected group had some weaknesses in areas where his/her competitor was strong, if those related to desirable rather than essential aspects of the job specification, s/he may be considered as qualified for the post. Not all recruitment exercises divide the desired characteristics of the post into necessary and preferred. So the answer to this question may require a more specific examination as to how important the skills in question are for the job

Put plainly, ‘positive action’ is discrimination (less or more favourable treatment) based on crude assumptions about ‘groups’. It is not the provision of reasonable support based on individual characteristics and needs.

And so, perhaps it’s unsurprising that though ‘positive action’ came into force in April 2011, employers have been reluctant to use it. Concerns have been raised about the risk of legal challenge, as well as other important issues, such as its potential to undermine employees’ credibility and lead to segregation and stigmatisation within the workforce.

But with a rapidly growing ‘Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion’ (EDI) industry, and fresh impetus to change recruitment practices to meet targets, ‘positive action’ based on race is becoming a reality in Britain. For example, I recently posted about universities advertising student opportunities with racial eligibility criteria. And last month it was revealed that London’s Royal Free Hospital is now requiring “interview panels to justify themselves whenever a shortlisted ethnic minority candidate is not appointed to a role”.

Some of the many legal and practical implications will no doubt become clearer as more employers begin implementing race-based policies and practices.

Read More: Race-Based ‘Positive’ Discrimination is Now a Reality in Britain

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