Friday, 25 May 2018 11:10

Your Responsibility Starts Here

Employers should remember that the Equalities Act applies from the outset of the recruitment process; including your job advert, selection criteria and your own conduct at the interview. Claims for discrimination, for which there is no cap on compensation, can occur if any of these areas, and others, are found to be discriminatory, even if that happens subconsciously.

When recruiting new employees, we should remain vigilant of our own actions and processes in case something that we think is innocent slips under the radar. 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 process to follow in order to shortlist applicants for interview stage. Depending upon the position available, you could award scores for relevant qualifications, experience in both similar roles and business sector, career continuity or IT skills for example. Make sure that any scoring system you use is applied consistently and fairly to all applicants. We recommend keeping results, as proof that a fair process was used, for six months, incase a claim of discrimination arises, but under GDPR you’ll need to safely destroy it thereafter.

Unconscious bias has become something of a catchphrase in recent years and some organisations omit applicants’ names from application scoring systems. This means that their ethnic origin or gender cannot be guessed or assumed from their name by those doing the scoring; thereby avoiding any underlying prejudices held by the scorer having an effect on the application. We also recommend that more than person scores applicants, and an average score is taken to further avoid the effects of unconscious bias.

A female applying for a job as a heating engineer for example 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 job. You may also have to make reasonable adjustments for someone with a disability to attend an interview, but again, the fact that you have to make adjustments cannot influence your decision on whether or not to employ; or even to interview if that applicant has fairly reached that stage of the selection process.

Asking a female applicant if she intends to have children in the future is blatant sexual discrimination but with Shared Parental Leave now a reality, asking the same of a male applicant could also get you into trouble.

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 important too, 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.

For help and support with all stages of recruitment, including induction processes, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact us through our contact page.



Read 724 times Last modified on Friday, 01 June 2018 12:39


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  




We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.

Get in touch.