Even though an employer may have good intentions this is not a defence…
Miss Ahmed, a woman of Northern Sudanese origin applied for a promotion to the post of researcher for Sudan with Amnesty International. Amnesty International was of the view that being appointed to the post may put Miss Ahmed and her colleagues in increased danger. They rejected Miss Ahmed’s application for the promotion and Miss Ahmed brought tribunal proceedings, including a claim for race discrimination.
The Employment Tribunal determined that Amnesty International had discriminated against Miss Ahmed on the ground of her race as it was because of her race that she had not been successful in her application for promotion. They found that Amnesty’s well-intentioned motive provided no defence as direct discrimination cannot be justified in law.
In its Judgment the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld that decision. It was concluded that it does not matter whether discrimination is intentional or unintentional: discrimination is discrimination. Even though an employer may have good intentions this is not a defence.