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Discrimination and Job Adverts

Discrimination and Job Adverts

An advertisement must not show any intention to discriminate unlawfully. In relation to sex, age and race, the use in advertisements of certain wording with discriminatory connotations (e.g. waitress, mature, shop girl, energetic) will be deemed to be discriminatory unless the advertisement specifically states otherwise or unless there is a particular genuine occupational requirement (GOR) which legitimately requires someone of a particular age, sex, race etc. for a job.

In circumstances where an advertisement indicates that any application would or might be determined to any extent by reference to the unsuccessful applicant not having a disability or the employer's reluctance to make reasonable adjustments, then a disabled person who has applied for employment and has been rejected can complain of disability discrimination. The Tribunal must then assume, unless the contrary is shown, that the employer's reason for refusing to offer the employment to the disabled person was related to his or her disability. The advertisement can be either before or after the application for the job by the disabled person.

Employers are advised to make clear what skills are actually needed for an appointment - as opposed to what is merely preferred or desirable. Recruitment on the basis of these essential skills and aptitudes (provided they are not unlawfully discriminatory) should not place the employer in breach. The employer can always decide not to recruit or promote someone who does not have the necessary skills or abilities.

An advertiser who knowingly or recklessly makes a false or misleading statement regarding the legality of the advertisement may commit an offence. If you are placing an advertisement through an employment agency or recruitment agency, inform them if a GOR is applicable or advise the newspaper in which the advertisement is being placed when a GOR is claimed.

Employers are also advised to consider not only the language in any promotional literature but also any hidden messages that may be present.

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