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Employment Law – How Can You Avoid Discrimination When Hiring?

When hiring staff, your priority is to find the right person for the job. However, without a human resources team, it’s solely your responsibility to identify candidates with the right credentials and qualifications – and also someone who’s the ‘right fit’ for your organisation.

Sounds simple, right? Actually, recruiting can be a surprisingly emotive experience. It’s human nature to respond on a personal level when interviewing, and even the most seasoned recruiter can find it tricky to keep emotional, instinctive responses at bay. This is why it’s so easy to inadvertently discriminate when hiring.

UK Employment Law – Avoiding Discrimination
The 2010 Equality Act was introduced to ensure all employees are treated fairly – at every stage of their employment, including recruitment. This law is important and protects the rights of all employees in the UK. However, it does make life trickier for employers, especially when hiring.

The big question is: How can you be absolutely certain that you’re not discriminating?

Are You Accidentally Discriminating When Hiring?
Studies in the past demonstrate that recruiters often demonstrate unconscious bias, particularly when favouring candidates from a similar social and economic background to their own.  It’s all too easy to allow instinctive bias to affect your recruitment decisions. However, if a candidate believes that you’re acting in a discriminative way, you could face legal proceedings.

How to Avoid Discrimination, According to UK Employment Law
Here’s some important steps to take to ensure you avoid discrimination when hiring.

  • Analyse the job. As any human resources expert will testify, it’s important to perform a job analysis before you start advertising the position. Identify the major responsibilities that the role involves, and what key skills are required to fulfil them.
  • Qualifications. It’s also vital to ascertain what qualifications are realistically required to perform well in the role. Does the ideal candidate require any specialist knowledge, for example
  • Experience. What experience is required for this role – how many years’ experience should your ideal candidate have, and in what industry?
  • Avoid discriminating requirements. Once you’ve created a comprehensive job description, make sure it doesn’t contain any discriminating requirements. For example, if the job involves heavy lifting, you shouldn’t indicate that the role is only suitable for men – certain women are more than capable of lifting heavy weights!
  • Assess fairly. When reviewing CVs and conducting interviews, ensure that you’re assessing each candidate in relation to your original job description. For example, it shouldn’t be relevant that candidate X is French, providing his English skills are good enough to meet the job’s requirements. Likewise, it should be irrelevant that candidate Y is 60, if they’re perfectly capable of fulfilling the physical demands of the job.

Employment Law and HR Specialists in the South West
If you want to make sure you’re avoiding discrimination in the workplace, it’s a good idea to work with an employment law specialist, who will examine your current practices and guide you in the right direction. Having an HR specialist to help with recruitment is also a bonus! If you’d like help with employment law or human resources, get in touch with Harris Law today. 01803 861086. Alternatively you can contact us HERE.