Prospective HR Manager Loses Sex Discrimination Claim After a Company Says They Want To Hire “Fewer White Men”

An employment tribunal has ruled that wanting to hire “fewer white men” is not sex discrimination. This comes after a prospective HR manager was unsuccessful in attaining an £80,000 role at a financial services company.

Below, we explore what exactly happened and led to the individual making a gender discrimination claim. Then, we discuss the positive intentions of the company, including the benefits of women in the workplace and why we need more of them.

If, unlike the case discussed, you believe you’ve experienced sex discrimination, contact us today. Redmans Solicitors are employment law specialists and could answer your questions. We could also discuss your circumstances and assess your eligibility to claim compensation. Get in touch with us now by:

Rejected Job Applicant Makes Sex Discrimination Claim

How did it Start?

In July 2021, Chris Palmer was invited to a screening interview with AIMS Markets to discuss his previous experience for a potential HR manager role. At the time, he was on holiday, meaning the conversation occurred via phone call with his friends listening in.

During the conversation, Mr Palmer was told the company wanted to build diversity, being informed about several current employees’ ethnicities and sex. Mr Palmer added that the company outlined their desire to hire “fewer white men”.

Subsequently, he was invited to an interview in August 2021, despite the company’s reservations about him. Following this interview, doubts were brought up concerning the candidate. Among other things, the company had concerns that Mr Palmer wasn’t a good listener and had unrealistic wage expectations.

As such, Mr Palmer later received a call informing him the company didn’t want to proceed with his application. Two other female candidates were also rejected at this stage, and eventually, a woman accepted the role in September 2021.

The Sex Discrimination Claim

In November 2021, Mr Palmer wrote to the company claiming sex discrimination and that his interview was simply the company going through the motions. However, the company wrote back, explaining the comment concerning hiring “fewer white men” had been misinterpreted.

Dismissing the claims of sexism at the workplace, they insisted the company was referring to creating an inclusive environment. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to hire white men, just that they didn’t want only to hire white men. Furthermore, they insisted they wouldn’t have interviewed him twice if they were simply going through the motions.

Mr Palmer’s rejection led to him making a claim to an employment tribunal; however, this was unsuccessful. The judge reasoned that although the company didn’t phrase the hiring of “fewer white men” well, they didn’t find it concerning that the company wanted to address “diversity in its workforce”.

Moreover, they didn’t believe that employers aspiring to increase diversity in their workforce alone pointed out gender discrimination at work. Therefore, the judge threw out Mr Palmer’s sex discrimination claim.

Why we need more Women in the Workplace

Although the intentions of the above company were brought under scrutiny, they can be understood. Without looking too hard, data highlighting gender discrimination in the workplace can easily be found. 

For example, Ciphr, the HR and payroll software provider, outlined that 78% of all full-time roles in the UK have a gender pay gap that favours men. What’s more, 30% were found to pay men a minimum of 10% more an hour. Therefore, one can argue that a company looking to improve diversity shouldn’t be punished for doing so.

Yet, targeting sex discrimination by improving diversity won’t just be beneficial to those currently underrepresented. In fact, companies could see a multitude of benefits by simply tackling sexism in the workplace.

It’s previously been documented that Fortune 500 companies where their board contains more women do better financially. Furthermore, the Center For Creative Leadership conducted a report titled “What Women Want And Why You Want Women In the Workplace”. 

They found that workplaces containing more women were better places to work. This was because organisations with more women had, among other things, less burnout and increased job satisfaction.

And that’s not all. Wisestep, the AI recruitment software, highlighted further benefits of hiring women. They explained that women provide many skills, including emotional intelligence, intuition and communication, that can improve a company.

Therefore, although tackling sex discrimination is primarily focused on helping those underrepresented, it will benefit companies too. The talent pool will increase, and the skills available for companies to utilise will grow, too. As such, companies should jump at the opportunity to hire a diverse workforce and reap the benefits it brings.

Have You Experienced Gender Discrimination at Work?

If you have been subjected to sexism at work, contact us today. Redmans Solicitors are employment law specialists and have helped several clients in similar circumstances. We can discuss your case and advise on your possible next steps by contacting us now.

So, begin your journey with us today by: