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Equal opportunities monitoring - valid or discriminatory?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Pete J, 6 Jul 2020.

  1. Pete J

    Pete J Unemployed dole scum

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    As some of you may have read in the bad news thread, I've been made redundant (as have at least one other Bit-Techer). Sad times.

    A proportion of each day is now taken up applying for jobs. Unfortunately, the 'call back' rate is quite low, presumably owing to the current crisis. I have had one potential job application back, but they're waiting until things are a bit more 'normal' before opening up recruitment again.

    One thing I've come across is that every single job application (without fail) also has an 'Equal Opportunities Monitoring' section at the end. These have been around for a few years now, but I've noticed that they seem a little more...invasive than they used to be. Typical questions involve:
    • Sex at birth
    • Current sex
    • Age
    • Nationality
    • Disability
    • Sexual orientation
    • Religion
    I currently fill these out. However, I can't shake the feeling that as your typical 'white privileged male', that this may be used against me. Arguably I can refuse to fill the details out (an option after all) but I would really like to know if this truly is a thing.

    The jobs I apply for are typically academic/technical, so the key ability is to be a good engineer - meaning that provided mental capacity isn't impaired, anyone can do the job with the relevant knowledge and training. However, I'm loathe to think that someone's sexual preference (for example) is used to choose them over me, despite the fact I'm more qualified and/or capable.

    I'm half tempted to identify as a strong, independent black woman to see what happens.

    Anyway, I'm putting this forward to hear other people's views on the matter. I'm particularly interested to hear from those who are in charge of recruiting to know if there are actually targets for diversity.
     
  2. Byron C

    Byron C And now a word from our sponsor

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    All of those data are protected characteristics, and therefore subject to the strongest data protection laws possible. Using that information to screen job applicants would be a serious breach of multiple laws. A lot of this information is used for monitoring & reporting, which can be a good thing - see the Gender Pay Gap Report service.

    I can only speak for my current employer, and even then I've had only a tangential involvement with recruitment, but I don't think I've ever seen that information being passed to the hiring manager. Equality monitoring information never makes it past HR (and nor should it). People are going to discriminate based on protected characteristics as part of the recruitment process, but TBH it's probably more likely that this will happen during the interview (or if you have what someone thinks is a "foreign-sounding name", or an obviously female name).

    If you're afraid that information might be used against you then don't give it in the first place, it's all voluntary. If any of those characteristics are used against you it'll likely happen in an interview (whether you know it or not). The issue when it comes to recruitment practices is that proving discrimination on an individual basis is almost impossible: it's all to easy for racists, homophobes, sexists, etc, to fall back on the excuse that "other candidates were more qualified/suited for the role". If people are going to judge on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, etc, it's more likely that they will discriminate against people who are BAME, gay/lesbian, transgender, female, etc.

    In an ideal world recruitment would be a meritocracy. But it isn't an ideal world and recruitment is done by humans, along with all the biases and preconceptions humans have. As a fellow privileged white male, you and I are far more likely to be seen in a positive light than someone who is Black, Asian, female, transgender, etc.
     
  3. enbydee

    enbydee Active Member

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    Positive discrimination is unlikely to be the main cause of rejection. I know we saw some protests recently but I don't think the needle has swung so far in the academic/technical field as to make a significant proportion of employers cut down their hiring of white dudes.

    EOM forms should be separated from the application process and used to track the makeup of applicants and job offers to inform strategic decisions about improving equality, not to make yay or nay decisions on individual applications.
     
  4. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    ^ This

    Ideally the application should also not have your name on, people can pass judgement on that alone.
     
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  5. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    As another generic white man, I'm quite sure it's a difficult subject.

    I forget the exact wording, and indeed where I read it/heard it, but something to the tune of "Equality feels like oppression to the people in power". My take away from that is that levelling the playing field makes the people who have benefited from discrimination (Intentionally or not) - Us generic white blokes - feel like we're being discriminated against.

    We're so used to the benefits of being a generic white bloke that we're blind to so many things. It feels like every week I find something new that, until that moment, had never occurred to me as a possible source of friction for some people. 'cause I see the world from the perspective of a white bloke.

    That said.

    I do wonder what these kinds of questions are actually for. The last application I made that was successful had variations of them, I filled them out because for me personally it's no big deal. White. Straight. Bloke. No discernable religious beliefs. Currently in possession of functioning limbs and body parts. I was interviewed by two other generic white blokes, and fairly quickly got a job offer and contract. I thought nothing of it at the time, but. Was my being a generic white bloke what opened the door? Would I have had the same experience had I been a person of colour? Someone who isn't straight? Trans? Had an unusual name?

    When we applied for the place we live the woman showing us around (Not the landlord, but a friend of) said there'd been a lot of Turkish applicants (There's quite a lot of migration into this area, presumably the proximity to Munich and Augsburg) and that she "didn't think they fit in around here". Of course prefaced with the 'not racist but' comment. Would we have had a different experience if we'd been a mixed race couple? Both from an ethnicity with darker skin pigmentation? Non-Binary?

    I can't shake the feeling, though, that it's a pointless gesture to ask these questions on an application (Like not using 'master' in relation to bedroom 'cause of slavery, instead of prosecuting cops that kill black people). That it's just another metric for some other generic white bloke to pass on people that might bring a different perspective or challenge to the workplace.

    As @Byron C said. Ideally the world'd be a meritocracy, but it ain't one and the people with prejudices are still pretty common. And pretty commonly in positions to make decisions that are linked to those prejudices.

    That said, IMO the only way to change the practices at most places is to get more people in them that aren't generic white blokes - Even if that means the scales tip a little in favour of less qualified. If these questions lead to less generic white blokes, then I guess it's a worthwhile endeavour.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2020
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  6. Pete J

    Pete J Unemployed dole scum

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    Thanks for the replies so far!

    I see where your coming from, but I disagree that things should be 'tipped'. I have no problem if there was another candidate of equal competence (well, assuming I'm competent :worried:) that was chosen over me to introduce more diversity: one of the best engineers I've ever known was a black chap from...Cameroon IIRC - funny thing is, he came from an extremely wealthy family :hehe:. However, to tolerate lesser competence is not on, quite frankly.

    Keep 'em coming. Nice to read thought provoking posts while I build Lego and wait for responses to job applications :sad: .
     
  7. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I suppose we're also looking at this from different working perspectives - I suspect you have a hell of a lot more specific training than I do. The field I work in is teeming with monkeys and typewriters, so a tip of the scale in my field would barely be felt.
     
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  8. Pete J

    Pete J Unemployed dole scum

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    Valid point and correct. My field is highly technical, so a slight 'tipping' would be very noticeable. I'm quite niche too. It gives me the right to listen to indie music and denounce mainstream media :hip:.
     
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  9. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    I feel it's rare you'll get a job that can be purely judged on technical competency, and there is often value in having people with different life experiences as part of a team.
    Just going for the more technically apt everytime might seem the best idea short term but can lead to echo chamber type situations, with then make it even less likely for people outside of that group to be able to join later on.
    Many aspects of work can't be given a number or a pass/fail type rating such as attitude, working well with others etc.

    (Sometimes to overcome injustice you have to tip the scales the other way a little in my opinion.)

    In this case I don't think the stuff you put down makes any difference, and as @liratheal said, I think this may be a slight example of when things change to potentially improve things for others, for those who were previously in a position of advantage (deliberately or otherwise) it can feel like the changes are working against them, so feel free to put it down or not, don't think it'll make any difference, since even if it did, you'd most likely fail at the interview anyway when they realised you lied on the application :)

    Also good luck on the job hunt, I'd agree that recruitment being down at the moment it feels quite bleak.
     
  10. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    To be fair that only works in big companies, if you applied say for example at your local garden centre then the entire process is likely handled by one person, preventing that kind of separation of knowledge.
     
  11. damien c

    damien c Mad FPS Gamer

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    Have seen this many times on application forms, and have even been told verbally but never in writing because it would lead to a potential lawsuit for racism/sexism, that I have not been given the job even though I was the best fit for the job strictly because I am a "White Male" and instead went to someone who fit the "Required Diversity Trait" that was needed in the department despite them not being qualified or experienced to the same level as myself.

    As far as I am concerned if someone is not given a job because of the gender, skin colour, religious belief, age etc then it's discrimination regardless of who is on the receiving end and it should be dealt with.

    I see the same comments everyday from certain people, not on here but other places about the so called "Gender Pay Gap" which is utter nonesence, "More BAME People needed in this role", "I was racially profiled" etc etc.

    The Gender pay gap is a myth, how can you take the average earnings of Female Staff and Male Staff from an entire company and say "Oh look women are only paid this compared to men who are paid this" it's garbage, if you really want to see if there is a gap, you take all the people working in a team and look at the salaries, then take in to account, "Years of service", "Experience", "Qualifications" etc etc and you find it's actually Men these days are paid less than women. This whole thing is all about paying people the same regardless of qualifications, hours worked, experience, time with the company or even the ROLE! Not to mention if women were really paid less, then us males wouldn't be able to find a job because they would all be given to women because "hey why not only employ women, and pay them x amount instead of employing men because we would have to pay them Z amount" it's not like it's not illegal to pay people differently because of gender or anything.

    "More BAME People" this really annoys me because we should not be giving people job's, spot's at university etc just because of the colour of there skin or gender, that is racism and sexism right there but everyone sings the praises of the people who do it, but if it was done to allow more "White Men" in to a roll "Oh no look at these racist/sexist pigs", I saw it on the BBC the other day "We need more BAME Football Managers" well I'm sorry if they could do the job and were qualified for it then they should be given the role if no one else who applies for it is more qualified or experienced in that role, but if they take someone on for the role who is not as qualified or experienced just because they are "White" then they need to be called out for it. Why don't I ever see a "Female Premier League Football Team Manager" or even questions about why isn't there any? Oh yeah it's because the vast majority of managers are ex players, and women do not play in the Premier League.

    "I was Racially Profiled" well this is funny, and a perfect example of it is in the news today "I was racially profiled" yeah you were racially profiled in a car with tinted windows and you were only pulled over because you are "Black", it had nothing to do with your partner driving on the wrong side of the road, or refusing to stop when the police tried to stop you, or driving off at speed trying to get away from the cop's, oh no it had nothing to do with that at all it was all because "You are black", honestly I hope the police release the footage and if it's as clear cut as the statement seems to suggest then I hope the women and her partner are dragged in to court for Slander, because they have accused the coppers who tried to stop them and that eventually stopped them of racism.

    Yes women and people who fall in to the BAME community in the past have had a disadvantage when going for job's, university or college spot's etc but the answer to that is not to give them those things now just because of there skin colour or gender, but instead companies etc should be forced to look at a application minus name, age, gender or religious belief, basically take anything out that could be used to determine what gender someone is, what religion they are, what skin colour they have etc etc and look purely at the qualifications and experience and if all the people who are given a job/interview are black or white, male, female or what ever other genders are used these days (sorry but there are now to many for me to remember them all) then so be it because it will not be based on things that matter to the job not things that "DO NOT MATTER!!"

    Diversity requirements etc are a joke and need to be stopped because all they are doing is stopping people from getting what they deserve because they don't fit the "Diversity Trait" that is currently required!
     
  12. Byron C

    Byron C And now a word from our sponsor

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    Wow.

    I am not going to get into a drawn-out-tit-for-tat exchange, because you've clearly already made up your mind and I have no interest in convincing you or doing your research for you (after all, you have to want to learn). But you are objectively wrong about almost everything you have just said.

    I had more written out, but... you know what? You've clearly already made up your mind and it's likely that anything I do or say will only make you dig your heels in, I'd be better off debating with my cats.
     
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  13. damien c

    damien c Mad FPS Gamer

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    Please don't debate your cat, its fair to put it in a shelter because it disagrees with you (meow)
     
  14. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    ..Yeah, that reads poorly.

    Does it suck that sometimes someone is better qualified for a job than who ends up getting it?

    Sure.

    But it's been happening to everyone who isn't a generic white male since.. Forever.

    If there's a few casualties in righting that tremendous wrong, then I'm really not in the right place to be even slightly miffed about it.

    As for the gender pay gap.. I can't say I've any experience, not generally being in a position to know other peoples salaries, full work history, or qualifications and being, well, a generic white bloke.

    Given what I've heard, and seen, of some employers in my time I'd reckon there's an unfairness to a number of women's pay scales that warrants it being addressed.
     
  15. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    Those categories on an employment form aren't really there for choosing the employee, it is more so that a database is fully populated with the correct info, such that when they are audited and questions are asked on things such as diversity it can be answered, you could put yourself down as a strong black female and unless you were going for a role that required a strong black female I doubt anyone would even notice the discrepancy..

    Regarding being employed in roles of niche technical skills, I am in that category and once experience passes a point then past qualifications rarely come into it, certainly sex/colour and where you come from don't come into it at all beyond whether can we get you in on a Visa, for us experience mean more than any bit of paper unless of course you need a specific technical accreditation for a role, most interviews have tended to be an informal chat and that is where you can fall over to someone's biases but not something I have seen and the hiring decision is never down to one person, generally if you have a good attitude and can communicate you are onto a winner.

    pay gaps, difficult to judge, for us roles are paid based on what is required to get you in when you negotiate again sex/race etc don't factor, some people are better at that negotiation than others so you will see quite a spread for people doing broadly similar jobs.
     
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  16. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Yep, diversity isn't about making up quotas, it's about having diversity of thought amongst people who make decisions. You need that diversity to overcome unconscious biases. For example, you could have a firm where all of the partners are privately-educated, middle-aged white males, and amazingly when they are selecting new partners they will be more likely to select people like them (regardless of suitability of alternative candidates on other criteria).

    Exactly. Fearing that you're going to be passed up for a job because of innate characteristics like ethnic background, sex, or age is pretty unpleasant, isn't it? And it's especially unpleasant when you are used to those characteristics opening doors for you rather than closing them. But spare a thought for those who don't share those characteristics because they've been getting screwed since year dot.

    Utter bollocks. Much like the rest of your post, which is horrendous reading.
     
  17. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Should add that my firm are actually pretty open about the gender pay gap, and publish annual stats that show that it very much exists and continues to exist, despite strenuous efforts to reduce it. It is being reduced in our firm but the progress is slow and occasionally things even go backwards rather than forwards. Absolutely no-one would ever suggest that the women who work here are any less talented, intelligent, driven, committed or focused than their male counterparts, but on average they are being paid less for doing the same job.

    And it's not only the pay gap between men and women doing the same job, it's also the distribution of men and women across the range of seniority at the firm. There are actually more women than men in junior roles but the most senior roles are overwhelmingly filled by men, including at partner level where >85% of partners are men. This feeds back to my first point from the post above...
     
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  18. Byron C

    Byron C And now a word from our sponsor

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    This is a big driver for the gender pay gap. In a majority of cases, you're probably not going to see a huge gender disparity across the same role. But the senior roles, where the big money is earned, are overwhelmingly filled by men.

    Like @bawjaws I pretty much landed on my feet when it comes to the company I work for. According the reporting service I linked to earlier, the median hourly wage gap between women and men in my organisation is 3.4% in favour of men (in the April '18 to April '19 period - '19 to '20 reporting deadlines are extended due to COVID-19); the mean gap is 13.1%. But they also publish the proportion of women employed in each 'pay quarter': lowest paid, lower-middle, upper-middle, and top. In our case it actually just about favours women... until you get to the top, where it's a 37%/63% split of women/men. Our CEO (also a woman) has even outright admitted that the diversity at the top is somewhat lacking - they're all white and there's only one woman. Overall it seems like a pretty diverse workforce to me - moreso than possibly anywhere else I've worked besides call centres (where the short-term high-turnover nature of the work naturally brings huge diversity) - but it doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels and pretend all is fine, we can always strive to do better. Plus it's still a total sausagefest when it comes to technical roles: there are far more women in technical roles here than I've ever seen elsewhere but it's still overwhelmingly male.

    Again, I can only speak for my own experience, but I know that technical capability is only part of the criteria used when assessing job candidates. We do expect a minimum technical competence for a technical role (obviously depending on the specific role and whether it's senior, junior, etc), but far more important is the person: are they a total dick, do they get on well with others, can they articulate themselves, do they react badly to change, etc. Technology is always moving, what is relevant now might be out of date in 6 months time. Pretty much all our compute resource is in Azure yet they still hired me despite the fact I had zero experience in Azure. In a technical role like mine you will naturally keep yourself up to date and keep learning new things as part of the role, and if necessary there's always training. But as Game of Thrones somewhat eloquently put it, there's no cure for being a c-word.

    Like I said earlier, I've almost certainly never experienced any employment/recruitment discrimination because of my gender or the colour of my skin. But it does happen and if you can't at least admit that these issues exist then you are part of the problem, whether you like it or not.
     
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  19. damien c

    damien c Mad FPS Gamer

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    Honestly if you think that post is bad, then you need to go out in to the real world and experience it for what it really is, it's not all rainbows and avacado toast.

    Honestly you must all be living in a different world to me, because based of my own experiences nothing I have said is wrong!

    For those who say the pay gap is not a myth, maybe you can provide something that shows, that men and women are paid differently for the EXACT same role, because I cannot find a single example maybe I am not looking in the right places I don't know, and I mean take for example a nurse, same level of experience, same hours worked, same qualifications, same time working at the same hospital or doctors surgery etc etc, because quite frankly I will be shocked if that can be proven because if that can be proven then that person be it male or female has a massive law suit on there hands!

    Maybe you can provide a reason as to why all of the studies in to it only look at the average salary of all male and female staff, and not on what role those people actually do or whether they are full or part time, so when you have more higher tier staff that are male and more lower tier staff that are female there is obviously a gap in salary because the higher tier employment pays more, when you also have more women on part time roles than men again it's going to mean there is a gap because they are working less, and that would be the same if the if it was the opposite way round, but you wouldn't hear anything about that in the papers like you hear about the so called "Gender Pay Gap" which anyone with a ounce of inteligence knows is not real.

    Honestly you take a CEO of a company paid at £50 a hour and then take a cleaner paid at £10 an hour, well hell there is a £40 difference better give that cleaner £50 an hour otherwise there is a "Gender Pay Gap", doesn't matter that the roles are completly different, doesn't matter that the knowledge, exprience, qualifications, hours etc are completely different for the 2 roles, all that matters is one is paid more than the other so got to equal them out to avoid a "Gender Pay Gap" regardless of whether the CEO is Male or Female or the Cleaner is Male or Female.

    If you think I am joking with that comment, think again because that is what the "Gender Pay Gap" studies do they take EVERYONE regardless of role, regardless of hours, regardless of anything that matters and just lump them all in to 2 big pots labelled "Male" and "Female" and then go "Oh look the Male pot has x% more than the Female pot in it, Women are being paid less than men" that is the "Gender Pay Gap" it's flawed because of how it's calculated!

    Also if you think that it's just Men that are paid more than Women as linked in the first post Google admitted they paid less to Male staff compared to Female staff, and also one high profile case was the US Womens Football Team who were paid more than the US Mens Football Team

    The whole thing around getting more "BAME" people in to specific roles, why should someone be given a role specifically because of the colour of there skin? the gender that they identify as? what religion they are? what country they were born in? seriously why should I or anyone else expect to apply for a job and not be given it because of one of those things or even be given specifically because of one of those things?

    How would you feel if you found out that the spot you were given at University/College or a job role was given to you because of one of those "Traits"? I tell you now I would be sickened and would refuse it because I am more than my gender or the colour of my skin and I should not be given anything because of that over someone who is not the same as me.

    Maybe someone can explain why it's okay for people to advertise for job roles with "Whites need not apply" "Men need not apply" and it's praised because it's "Progressive" and "Giving back to people who were oppressed" and "Refused because of there skin colour, religion, name, gender".

    If you think I am joking about the whole "Whites need not apply" just google it or better yet, top 3 results of google when searching for "job applications with "Whites need not apply"

    Canada Federal Department Of Fisheries


    The Spectator

    The BBC Doing It

    The whole football thing that I mentioned, again why should someone who is not good at a job be given a job just because of there skin colour, but this also applies to other jobs.

    Taken from the BBC article on it

    "In 2018, the Football Association announced in an equality action plan that 5% of its leadership roles and 13% of England coaching staff were filled by people from a BAME background. In the same plan, the FA set targets of 11% and 20%, respectively, for 2021."

    Also in that article

    "As an example, he compared four former England internationals making their way in management: Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Rangers' Steven Gerrard, both white, and Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, both black.

    Campbell's two management jobs to date have been in lower-league football, at Macclesfield and Southend, while Cole started coaching Chelsea's Under-15s after ending his playing career last year.

    Sterling said: "The coaching staff that you see around football clubs: there's Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, your Sol Campbells and your Ashley Coles. All had great careers, all played for England.

    "At the same time, they've all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven't been given the right opportunities are the two black former players."

    Now personally I think people should be given a shot at a job if they are qualified and if they are told no and it's because of there skin colour, gender etc then they something needs doing about it because that is not fair, but if it's because someone applied for the same job is more qualified or experienced then that person should get the job, not the person who is less qualified or experienced just because of a "Diversity" box if that person who would fit in to that category is less experienced or qualified.

    Honestly the last time I went in to the office at work, out of the 100 people that I could see there was probably about 20 people who were white, do I have a problem with that? No I don't because I know that each person would have been given the job because of they were the best person for the job.

    The job I have now, I applied for it and the company could have said no chance he was sacked from the last company he worked for due to illness, but they didn't they said he is the best person for the job and gave me the job.

    If I didn't get it, I could have claimed it was discrimination based of medical history but I am not the type of person to do that.

    The company that I was sacked from I could have had a case of discrimination because I was sacked for being off to much due to illness, but a female colleague was not sacked even though she was off ill more than me, but I knew it had nothing to do with discrimination but I could have made it about that if I was so inclined but I am not so I took it because it was the right thing do, the company made the right choice based on the rules at the time, you see I had to many "instances" of illness where as the Female colleague only had 2 "instances" but totalled to more time off than my "instances" as such although she was off ill for longer than me, my instances meant that I had basically broken the rules about sickness.

    The whole racial profiling thing, do people get profiled because of the colour of there skin? Yes there are racist's out there but that is on both sides people, it's not just White people who do it and this whole thing of "Black people can't be racist" is pathetic, I have heard and seen plenty of Black people be racist but it's ignored because when a Black person is racist it's fine, but when it's a white person being racist the whole world decends on them like hell opening up.

    Personally I have been followed by security in shops both Black and White security guards whilst my black friends have been left to walk in piece, and I have seen them followed whilst I have been left to walk free.

    The problem is these days everything is about Race, it doesn't matter what it is or what it's about, it's automatically about race if someone who has a "BAME" background is involved, and whilst it's not all of the time, the majority of the time it is and it's annoying because all it does is take away from those people who have genuinely experienced something because of having a "BAME" background.


    Those questions in the first post of this thread are purely there to remove certain people from the list of potential people to be interviewed, that is all they are there for and if you don't answer them chances are you are not getting a call back, or if you do it's to ask you those questions and when you say no, click the phone goes dead and you hear nothing back.

    I have seen people look at only that section of application forms and remove anyone who doesn't fit within the criteria that is needed for that job, and I reported them for it to HR of the company I worked for at the time because it's discrimination based of a biological trait that they have no control over.

    As I said yes people who fall in to the BAME catergory have been treated in the past unfairly and so have women, but the answer is not to discriminate against White or Male/Female people.
     
  20. Byron C

    Byron C And now a word from our sponsor

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    Hey look, it's a classic Gish Gallop!

    Honestly, I got as far as the link to Breitbart. If that's what you're using to back up even a tiny percentage of your argument then that alone tells me all I need to know.

    As I alluded to earlier:

    [​IMG]

    Have fun kids, and don't forget to be nice to each other!

    PS: I have a ton of these Star Trek reaction memes, I need to get them all uploaded!
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2020

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