The head of the Royal Air Force’s recruitment team has quit after telling bosses she thought its diversity targets were “illegal”.
The group captain, whose identity has not been released, has quit his post but is still a serving RAF officer, the MoD has confirmed.
In an email dated August 4 obtained by Sky News, the officer reportedly said she was unwilling to allocate training slots based solely on a specific gender or ethnicity.
“It’s illegal,” she wrote. “I am not prepared to delegate or abdicate responsibility for carrying out this order to my staff.”
Defense sources told Sky the captain resigned the same day because she was not ready to implement the ‘course loading’ order or impose it on her team.
Under equality legislation, affirmative action, where someone is promoted solely because of a specific, protected characteristic, is illegal.
However, an employer can legally take certain steps to improve diversity in the workplace, called affirmative action.
An RAF spokesman said concerns raised by the now-resigned recruitment manager were “dealt with through the chain of command at the time”.
It comes after a report last week claimed senior brass had ordered an effective pause in recruiting white men to meet diversity targets.
This order was issued at the end of June, Sky reported.
However, another “course loading order” was then issued by the chain of command on August 2.
Command “not executed”
The group captain said in his email two days later that the order to embark only women and ethnic minorities had “not been carried out”.
“This direction is to make job offers to other women and EM [ethnic minority] candidates solely on the basis of their protected characteristics and in preference to non-EM men who have passed all selection criteria before them,” she wrote.
“I wholeheartedly agree that it is extremely important that we do everything in our collective power to support the RAF’s commitment to increasing diversity… This should however be achieved through legal and proportionate.”
An RAF spokesperson said on Sunday: “The RAF is recruiting people from the widest pool of talent possible and becoming a more diverse organisation, but we will not do this at the expense of our high standards, operational efficiency or compliance with legal obligations.
“We frequently review our recruitment processes, seeking legal advice to ensure we are aware of our legal obligations.
“Any allegations that we have failed to do so are investigated without delay. The concern raised in this case was addressed by the chain of command at the time and we are continuing our work to ensure recruitment processes remain compliant with all policy and legal requirements.