Wednesday, 08 May 2019 16:27

Discrimination Law Starts at Recruitment

It’s worth remembering that individuals don’t have to have attained employee status before they can be discriminated against and therefore enter a claim. The Equalities Act applies from the outset of the recruitment process so a claim can occur if a job advert or the recruitment process is felt by the applicant to be discriminatory.

It’s unlikely that we’ll be deliberately discriminatory when recruiting new employees, but we should remain vigilant of our own actions and processes in case something that we think is innocent could be interpreted otherwise. Using phrases that describe positions as suiting either a young or a mature person instantly crosses the line. Specifying too that you are looking for someone of a particular gender, unless there is a cast-iron reason to do so, is an absolute no-no.

During the selection process, scoring systems are usually a good method for shortlisting applicants for interview. Depending upon the vacancy, you could award scores for relevant qualifications, experience in similar roles and/or business sector, career continuity and IT skills. Make sure that any scoring system you use is applied consistently and fairly to all applicants. Hold on to your results for six months as evidence that a fair process was followed.

Be aware of any potential for Unconscious Bias. Some organisations will omit delegates’ names from their application scoring systems so that their ethnic origin or gender cannot be guessed or assumed by those doing the scoring; thereby avoiding any adverse scoring being applied due to the scorer’s underlying prejudices.

For example. a female applying for a job as a heating engineer may be unconsciously marked down because it is a job normally associated with men, even though she may be the most highly qualified and suitable applicant.

At interview be conscious of the questions you ask. Health and disability issues do not have to be declared until after a job offer has been made and accepted unless the issue relates intrinsically to the role.

Asking a female applicant if she plans to have children in the future is blatant sexual discrimination, but now that there is Shared Parental Leave, asking the same of a male applicant could also get you into hot water.

Ultimately, you should always aim to employ the best person for the job regardless of any other factors. How they fit in with your team is likely to be an important factor so personality and how they come across at interview will potentially have as much bearing as skills and experience. To avoid tribunal claims however make sure that if asked, you can prove that a fair selection process was used.

Join us at our recruitment seminar on 22nd May for support and guidance on making your recruitment process as effective as possible. Call us on 01452 331331, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or book online.

Read 1740 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 May 2019 16:30


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