GLS falls foul of discrimination law

The Government Legal Service (GLS) has had to introduce equal opportunity measures, having been found guilty of racial and sex discrimination against a black woman job applicant.

An industrial tribunal found the GLS guilty of undermarking Chineme Nwoke in her application for a post as a solicitor in the Treasury Solicitors Department in February.

The tribunal was forced to reintervene in November to award £3,000 damages when the two parties failed to agree upon a figure. Nwoke's case was backed by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).

A GLS statement said the tribunal had not found any discrimination in the rejection of Nwoke as even if her application had not been undermarked she would not have scored sufficient marks for the post.

But it said that the service took the tribunal decision “very seriously” and had taken steps to improve its recruitment procedures, including implementing training courses for interviewers.

Chris Myant, of the CRE, said the undermarking had occurred through complacency, which was widespread throughout British institutions, rather than prejudice.