Police recruit, 25, who was rejected because he wasn’t black, disabled, transgender or homosexual joins force that discriminated against him
Matthew Furlong was rejected from his ‘dream job’ with Cheshire police force
Tribunal found he was discriminated against for being white heterosexual male
Mr Furlong is now set to join the force, following in the footsteps of his father
By HENRY MARTIN FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 11:55, 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55, 30 May 2019
A police applicant who was rejected for being a white heterosexual male is now set to join the force after it was found to have discriminated against him.
Matthew Furlong, 25, wanted to follow in the footsteps of his detective inspector father Liam, 52, when he applied to join Cheshire Police in 2017.
Mr Furlong, who has a degree in particle physics from Lancaster University, performed well in tests and in interview but the force was desperate for more recruits from ethnic and sexual minorities so it refused to hire him.
The potential recruit lodged a discrimination claim against Cheshire Police under equality legislation, and won, in what is believed to be the first successful case of its kind.
An employment tribunal found Cheshire Constabulary discriminated against Mr Furlong on the grounds of sexual orientation, race and sex.
Lawyers for Mr Furlong said a settlement had been reached with the force and he would be joining as a student officer in September.
Jennifer Ainscough, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: ‘Matthew was an exceptional candidate who I am sure will be an exceptional police officer and we wish him every success in his future career.’
In a February ruling a judge criticised the force for treating candidates with ‘protected characteristics’ – such as being homosexual, transgender, disabled, black or from other ethnic minorities – more favourably than Mr Furlong, who was ‘a white, heterosexual male without disability’.
Mr Furlong had been among about 675 candidates who applied to join Cheshire Police in September 2017 and was shortlisted a month later.
He was invited for interview, along with 182 others, in November, and although the interview went well, with an inspector on the panel telling Mr Furlong he had been ‘refreshingly well-prepared’, he was rejected six days later.
Mr Furlong had been among 34 white male non-disabled candidates who were unsuccessful.
All the black candidates were offered roles.
In feedback Mr Furlong was told there were not enough vacancies for all the 127 candidates who had passed the interview stage, but Judge Grundy found the force had set the interview pass threshold ‘artificially low’ and candidates were awarded a simple pass or fail – meaning substantial numbers were ‘deemed equal’ [or dumbed equal].
The judge said the force did this so it could appoint officers from minority groups ahead of the best scoring people, concluding that Mr Furlong would have been offered a position had the force not applied ‘positive action’, and so he had been discriminated against.
His lawyer, Jennifer Ainscough, said he was denied his ‘dream job’ simply for being a ‘white, heterosexual male’.