Race bias claim over equality officer job

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A MAN was not shortlisted for a job as equality officer because he was white, despite having 11 years race relations experience, it was claimed at an industrial tribunal yesterday.

Stephen Webster, 46, of Stainbeck Road, Leeds, was informed that his 11 years' experience working with the Commission for Racial Equality was not relevant, his solicitor Bernard Wiltshire told the tribunal.

This was despite the fact that a junior colleague at the CRE and applicants that he had trained were shortlisted for the position with Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire.

The council claimed his application showed no awareness of gender or disability issues. But Mr Webster said other shortlisted applicants or candidates failed to meet specified criteria and only had experience of race issues.

Mr Wiltshire said that of 41 applicants for the four race equality officer posts on offer none showed better qualifications and experience than Mr Webster.

Mr Webster told the tribunal in Leeds that several candidates selected for the shortlist and reserve list did not have the minimum five years' experience of working in equality issues specified in the job description.

Mr Webster is claiming race and sex discrimination. The hearing continues.