The tables have been turned in London with a white, male civil servant filing a lawsuit alleging sex and race discrimination.
Matthew Parr, described by Metro News as “one of five inspectors of constabulary,” accepted a salary of £133,983 and a £7,904 London living allowance in June 2016. As Metro explained, his salary offer was the result of attempts to “rein in Whitehall pay scales.”
Parr, however, later learned that 15 months before he was hired, Wend Williams, a black woman, was hired as one of the other four inspectors with a £185,791 salary. She was given this salary even though she had accepted a lower offer of £165,000. The reason Williams ended up receiving a £20,000 boost to her salary is because a white man had recently been hired at that rate, so paying her less would have risked “a legal challenge on grounds of discrimination,” Parr argued before a tribunal.
Parr, a former rear admiral, found that not only did he make less than Williams (and the other recently hired inspector), but he was also being paid less than a deputy assistant commissioner, whom he oversaw.
“I am a white man. I recognise I am not the typical claimant in cases of equal pay and discrimination,” Parr said, according to the Metro. “I also recognise I am paid a relatively high salary. Were all HMIs to be paid the salary currently paid to me I would be satisfied. The only difference between her treatment and mine is that she was placed at the top of the band, rather than at the bottom.”
“This is a question of fairness. I am a white male — my race and sex had a clear influence in the first and later decisions on my pay,” Parr added. “It is also a policy that was influenced by race and sex. It was only revised as a consequence of Wendy Williams’ favourable treatment.”
Parr is suing Priti Patel, England’s current secretary of state for the Home Department. Patel, through her attorney Ben Collins, told Metro that Parr is paid less because of a new policy, one that wasn’t in place when William was appointed.
“If Mr Parr had been a black woman, he would have received the same response,” Collins said.
England, like America, suffers from allegations of a gender wage gap, though one does not exist. It is more accurately referred to as an “earnings” gap, because men and women earn different amounts based on the careers they take, the hours they work, and whether they leave the workforce to take care of children. When all those factors and more are accounted for, the alleged “gap” shrinks to about 5%, but no one can definitively prove that discrimination is the cause.
Parr’s case, however, appears to be an actual wage gap, because he is being paid less for the same job. Most allegations of the gender wage gap don’t take into account different jobs and other factors.
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