Public outcry as BBC accepts only ethnic minority applications for internship
The BBC is facing criticism after advertising for an internship position for which only “black, Asian and non-white ethnic minority” applicants would be considered, despite the BBC already employing an ethnically diverse workforce which meets the required representation as set out by the UK government.
The BBC, funded by UK taxpayers, has been accused of “positive discrimination in the workplace”, as according to the BBC’s own Diversity and Inclusion Strategy report for 2016 – 2020, the corporation is already employing 13.4 per cent black, Asian and ethnic minority employees, which is “above the census and workforce ratios”.
Critics have expressed their disapproval and have questioned why the BBC needs to employ an “under-represented” employee to the exclusion of white people when the workforce ratio is already in favour of ethnic minorities compared with the population ratios.
The BBC internship was posted online by employment agency Creative Access, which focuses on finding internships for black, Asian and ethnic minorities.
Omer Simjee, an employment law specialist at Irwin Mitchell LLP, said that, under the Equality Act 2010, a white person could take the matter to an Employment Tribunal, but that the job advertisement could also be considered a “potentially legitimate form of positive discrimination”.
In response to the criticism, a BBC spokesperson said that, although the corporation’s workforce “reflects the population of the country”, some “people from BAME backgrounds are under-represented in a number of crucial areas”.
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