How to avoid discrimination in your job advert

It is important you ensure any job advert or description you publish doesn't fall foul of discrimination law. At times this can be quite difficult as there are many grey areas that can be open to interpretation.

Unfortunately the Government doesn't issue a list of banned words or phrases meaning you have to use your discretion to work out whether a job is discriminatory on the grounds of race, sex, disability, age or another area.

As a general rule no job advert or description should be interpreted by an ‘ordinary, reasonable person with no special knowledge as discriminatory'.

Government guidelines can be found here

Specific examples that have been ruled discriminatory can be found below.

Racial discrimination

This requirement is possibly the easiest to adhere too as no mention of race should appear in your job advert or description.

Sexual discrimination

It is strictly forbidden to specify either male or female within a job advert. However there are certain roles where there is a genuine occupational need for an employee to be of a certain gender, such as within single sex institutions like hospitals or prisons.

The job title you use should also be gender neutral and not include words that are associated with one sex i.e. waitress & salesman are both examples of illegal terms.

Age discrimination

This can be the hardest area to comply with. You cannot specify age limits (except for licenced work etc.) but can also not use implied terms such as ‘youthful' or ‘mature' as these terms imply an age limit.

Similarly asking a certain number of years' experience from candidates could be deemed as discriminating against someone who hasn't had the opportunity to gain that experience. As a general rule the number of years a person has been employed in a sector doesn't necessarily mean they can perform the task better than somebody with less years' experience.

Disability discrimination

It's important for all businesses to ensure disabled candidates have as many opportunities to join their company as anybody else. This covers job adverts as well as the rest of the recruitment process, such as making your offices wheelchair accessible for job interviews.

General discrimination

Although most businesses are aware of the main areas of discrimination listed above, this is not an exhaustive list, and you should be wary of including anything that is not relevant to a person carrying out work related tasks. For example when advertising for a ‘Cycle Mechanic' you should avoid specifying any candidate regularly cycles as the frequency they ride a bike has no direct correlation to their ability to fix a bike. In the same way a car garage can't specify a motor mechanic regularly drives a car for pleasure.



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