Pakistani loses case of sex-race job bias

February 20, 1998

A MALE Pakistani research fellow at Edinburgh University did not suffer race and sex discrimination when he failed to win a teaching post, an industrial tribunal has ruled.

Mohammad Waqar Raza claimed discrimination after a female Bangladeshi researcher, Tanzina Haque, was appointed to a lecturing post in medical microbiology.

But the tribunal unanimously rejected Dr Raza's claim, saying that in terms of racial discrimination, it was difficult to understand why a Scottish university would prefer a Bangladeshi candidate to one from Pakistan.

It was also difficult to understand why, if the university was intent on appointing a female, it would not have shortlisted the only other female candidate rather than two men.

But the selection process had been "surprisingly lacking" in several respects. No selection criteria were established before shortlisting began and those involved in making up the shortlist did not have to give reasons for their selection. But the tribunal said it was satisfied "that there was nothing sinister in the absence of greater formality".

Dr Raza told the tribunal that his suspicions were aroused when he learned Dr Haque was "coming with Dorothy Crawford", who had come to Edinburgh from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Professor Crawford gave Dr Haque a reference for the teaching post.

"If it is the case that Dr Haque's association with Professor Crawford conferred on her an advantage in relation to her application which Dr Raza did not himself enjoy, that would no doubt leave Dr Raza feeling aggrieved," the tribunal report said. "It would not have any relevance to his complaints of discrimination on the grounds of race and sex."

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