Should you Discriminate in Job Adverts?
- Date: Friday 20th April 2018
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When a Shoreditch Bar recently advertised for ‘extremely attractive’ waiting staff on Reed.co.uk, the social media community quickly responded with accusations of discrimination:
But what is acceptable when searching for the right job candidate?
To answer this question, employers must first understand the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which stipulates that we should not discriminate against individuals affected by any of nine protected characteristics: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance
To put it simply, employers must not make assumptions that a candidate is unsuitable because they are affected by, for example, a disability. Therefore, issuing an advert that states “candidates must have no physical or mental disabilities” would be unlawful. However, if you are advertising for a job that involves daily physical labour, you can, and should, put this in a job description and the advert. “Candidates are expected to undertake physical work every day, including lifting, digging, carrying, etc.” makes expectations clear to potential applicants.
If somebody with a physical disability applies, the individual is aware of the expectations and is obviously confident that they can undertake the duties despite their disability, which is entirely possible. The key is to leave the decision to apply to the individual, rather than ruling out groups of people based on your personal assumptions and perceptions.
But what about the argument of attractiveness? Model agencies, theatres and TV companies have the right to discriminate against individuals who do not fulfil their requirements, so why can’t trendy bars and clubs do the same? The difference lies in the nature of the role. Arguably, a model is selling his or her looks as a job … a waiter or waitress sells drinks.
Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG