Stopping Employment Discrimination – Learning from my civil servant prejudices

I’ve wanted 2012 to be my best year ever, and so far it is. Along the journey this year I have had to deal with civil servant after civil servant, and I now hold some legal prejudices about them:

  1. They will not do what is in the public interest, but what is most expedient for them
  2. They don’t have initiative and will do anything to get out of doing more work or thinking creatively
  3. They care more about increasing their salary and pension than help out of poverty those they have power over
  4. They will go to extreme lengths to deny members of the public a benefit or make them subject to a detriment
  5. They will sooner treat a member of the public with a complaint as a ‘trouble maker’ than a individual who needs help.

I’m sure you’ll have come across a number of civil servants who are like this. They are in my view an embodiment of the ‘computer says no’ sketch on Little Britain. I have even set up a website that invites people to expose them.

Being an employer I always want the best person for the job. While it is not illegal to discriminate against former civil servants, I thought I’d see what would happen if I put myself in the position of the people who have discrimianted against me as someone with a ‘protected characterstic’.

I want the best person for the job. If I get the CV for someone who worked in the civil service at Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council I might immediately think they have all the attributes in the list above, and more likely then not I would probably be right. But believing this to be the case without evidence is prejudice. Denying them a job solely based on this prejudice is discrimination – though in the case of civil servants it is not illegal.

If I were to ask them at an interview whether they had those characteristics, even if they did they would likely deny it, or use their well toned skills as subterfuge to avoid answering the question. But unless I was able to prove they were lying, it would be clear discrimination to deny them them job, even if it was not illegal.

These are some untrue reasons given to me for not being given a job which were based on prejudice and therefore amount to discrimination:

  • Newport University; “You say you want to do a PhD, so clearly can’t want to do the routine duties with video editing” – I have a degree in multimedia and spent most of my life doing multimedia!
  • The Labour Party; “You […] lack communication and team working skills and would be no good on Question Time” – Within 5 years of that time I have become a successful social entrepreneur and Internet trolling expert and proved that prejudice wrong, and now I can speak without notes, which I see most Labour politicians including Ed Miliband find it difficult to. It is really amusing watching these people and knowing I am more skilled than them – through practice, practice, practice!
  • An unnamed university: “[C]learly you can’t teach and we need your medical records to check whether you can before letting you, even if you use a support worker” – Within a year of this I was delivering speeches without notes as above.

So, my opinion is now this. If an employer gives a reason why someone should not get the job, which is not based on any evidence they have, as opposed to don’t have, then that should be a clear case of discrimination. Any ‘reservations’ an employer or similar has about why someone may not be up to the job should not be valid forms of dismissing someone’s application if there is no evidence to support them.

So on this basis if I declined an application because I thought a civil servant met one of those criteria and in fact they didn’t then that would be discrimination – although not illegal. I therefore think that if employers or similar have any concerns about someone that might make them think they are not the “best person for the job” when they could be, they should be made to test the competencies they have concerns about.

In the case of my discriminations above this might be:

  • Newport University; To have asked me, and other applicants, to have done 2 hours and video editing and seen how we enjoyed it. When I applied for a job at Barry College, they did something similar by making me take a programming test in the library to ensure I was comfortable around the students.
  • The Labour Party; To have asked me to deliver presentations to branch or constituency meetings, or get involved in chairing a party conference session.
  • An unnamed university; To have given me the chance to have delivered a lesson in front of a live class. A colleague who became the art teacher at Hawthorn High School did this, as did my sister-in-law when she applied to a school.

So in the case of the civil servants, I might use ‘dead-zones’. These are the time periods before and after an interview where employers set up circumstances to see if the employee will fit in. So it could be used to see whether they have the initiative or concern for others that one might want. For some reason, most of the dead-zones I have been in people ask “do you drive” or “how did you get here”, which could land them up in Court, as it is indirect discrimination.

So in essence my view is that any employer or similar who denies someone a position for a reason based on prejudice and not evidence should be considered to have committed discrimination.

In my view, regardless of whether an employer thinks one has a medical condition, if they deny someone a position for a reason that is a symptom of their disability then they should face the most severe penalty under the law. Equally, there should be a strong case for discrimination if the reason someone is turned down is for a reason that is false, even if the employer or similar thinks it is true.

So the question we need to ask is that would it be better to have ‘honest references’ rather than ‘good ones’? Would it not make sense that if an employer has reservations about an applicant that they be allowed to contact their referees to see if this is true? If it were the case that a referee who misled an employer was open to legal action for any loss then they would give truthful references. The only trouble is there would have to be  measures to prevent ‘fishing expeditions’ where someone may ask a referee a series of questions to make it easier to eliminate a candidate they have prejudices against rather than seek to include them by having concerns refuted.


Becoming the perfect role model and distance dad: Avoiding DNA Thieves that destroy childhood

Today David Cameron spoke about the problem of absent fathers. This makes a change from the usual Tory rhetoric of attacking single mothers.

I would like to have children, or a child, as a decedent who can take up my family’s tradition of being a Freeman of Llantrisant (in the case of a boy) or pass it onto their husband (if a girl). I would even fight for their right to this if in the case of a boy they had a male partner.

But, if I have children, I am not going to let any opportunist neo-feminist take them off me and deny them their chance to have the perfect male role model. If I have children they will be my flesh and blood and there is no way I am going to let anyone deny me access to them – no one.

So because I am not one of the easiest people to live with, I think I should accept that if I have children with a female partner,  however much she says she loves me, there is a good chance they will get taken off me, as I don’t have the competencies to raise them on my own. If you assume that a child would ideally have a stable relationship for at least the first 16 years of a child life – I don’t think someone could put up with me for that long! Therefore, in order to avoid any harm to my children I should not need a partner to have them, who might turn out to be a DNA Thief.

So, as far as I can see, the only chance to have a dependent and not lose them to a DNA thief is as follows-

1. I have a child via a surrogate mother.
-If same-sex couples can, why can’t I and remain a bachelor?

2. Have the child looked after by foster parents near to where I live and keep regular contact with them.
– If rich people can send their children to boarding school or the Courts can force fathers to only see their children at weekends because state endorsed DNA thieves get a monopoly on raising them, why can’t I outsource my childcare to a family who already have children and the experience of raising them?
– Surrogate parents get paid and monitored by the local authoirty. Those parents would have a financial incentive to stay together, and my children would have a better upbringing that they otherwise would as they would have the stability of two parents and me as a role model at the same time.
– So on that basis, if women can’t hold down a relationship with me, why should I deny my children a stable up-bringing and the chance to have me as a role model in a stable environment?

The Equality Act 2010 makes marriage a protected characteristic. So I should have the right to not get to married. The Human Rights Act 1998 gives me a right to found a family and the right not to associate with those I don’t want. Also, on top of this, the case of R v R means there is no legitimate expectation for a relationship between two people to be a sexual relationship. Therefore, taking the two together the right to found a family should not be based on the requirement of a sexual relationship. Therefore I should be able to have a child without having a partner in order to create them, who may be a neo-feminist who turns out to be a DNA Thief.

There are so many neo-feminists who murder potential children in the name of ‘choice’. Therefore, I should not have to take a risk of being with such a fetus-killing-feminist. If they want control over their body then want control over my sperm! Why can’t I be pro-choice and pro-life at the same time, just because I’m not willing to have a child with a potential DNA thief, and don’t have the ability to be a single-dad? I should be allowed to become a become a distance dad who is the perfect role model instead of being put in a position where I could be forced to be a absent father.

Disagreeing to Agree – Micro-bloggers at War when they are on the same side

I just had a paper accepted for a conference paper called “Mum’s the WordPress: A comparision of political and mommy bloggers”, didn’t talk much about microblogging, but discovered some of the problems in an interaction with Iain Dale earlier today. I wonder ‘tele-autism’ is manifested greater in microblogging, where offence is easier to occur between people because of the communication restrictions similar to what I as a person with High Functioning Autism experiences elsewhere in public life.

Iain Dale is one of the most respected political bloggers on the Internet. In 2007 he ranked me No 88 in the Top 100 Labour Bloggers. For someone in politics to give me such high regard, means he must be a pretty decent person, looking beyond how as a Labour Party member I was an “outlier” and not typical of the norm.

However, I was slightly shocked today. On Twitter, he called a presenter of Britain’s Got Talent a word meaning phallus beginning with “d” for not letting through a group of black people and instead letting through a “pub singing poodle”. -As much as I would agree with his dissent if the decision was based on race, even indirectly because the person didn’t like ‘Black Music’.

I have been arguing for universities to have quotas for Black people based on the numbers in society, and for international students not to count against this quota. Many Black people in this country don’t “make the grade” for university due not to lack of ability, but a biased exam system.

Black music is not always done by Black people, as Eminem shows, but just because someone is of a generation that doesn’t like this, as Iain was alluding to, someone should not be rejected from a competition because the judge doesn’t like their music which is typical of their race. Equally someone shouldn’t be derided because their nationality is different from the country they are in, as Iain later presented, just because they were picked by a possibly racist judge – two wrongs don’t make a right.

As I said to Iain; that under the Communications Act 2003 it is illegal to send an offensive message via a communications service. As a public figure, and someone who I respect as one of the most knowledgeable people in politics (perhaps why he is not in government), I expected better. The Equality Act 2010 protects people from direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of race, whether against someone who is Black, White or other identity. I would suggest to him to make a complaint to Ofcom if he felt the decision was based on race, as he is right to point it out if that was the case – I just think he should have moderate his language.

Hopefully he will be re-running his Top Blogs some time. I wonder how he will rank me as someone who is a Co-operative Party Councillor and member of the Conservative Co-operative Society who is in coalition with Plaid Cymru on Pontypridd Town Council and has acted as a counting agent for the Official Moster Raving Loony Party and recently been out leafleting for the Labour Party!