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Does discrimination employment law apply to recruitment in the UK?

If you are considering setting up a UK company, you might have some questions about UK law and recruitment. Whilst you might have some grasp of your legal obligations after you have taken on employees, it can be difficult to navigate what is required before the employment relationship is established. This post looks at some things recruiters should consider when setting up a UK company.

What is considered discrimination in recruitment? 

If you set up a company in the UK, your business has a responsibility to make sure that no unlawful discrimination takes place during the recruitment process. Unlawful discrimination means negative treatment of a candidate on the grounds of disability, age, gender reassignment, maternity and/or pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief and sex or sexual orientation.

Can I refuse to give an interview on the grounds of a protected characteristic? 

No. Although the candidate may have simply given a CV or contacted you about the job, it is unlawful not to consider them for the job simply on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics listed above. You may, of course, refuse candidates with a protected characteristics if they are not suitable for the job, for example, if they do not have the qualifications or skills required.

Can I ask questions about a protected characteristic in an interview? 

Generally, you may not ask about protected characteristics in an interview. For example, you may not ask whether a candidate is married, has children or whether they plan to have children. You may, however, ask about a health condition or disability where there are job requirements that cannot be met by the candidate unless you make reasonable adjustment to the workplace or working practices, you are taking positive steps to recruit someone with a disability, or where you need to find out if the candidate needs assistance to attend another stage of the selection process.

What can I do if I am unsure? 

Goodwille has assisted hundreds of companies all over the world in understanding the law and recruitment practices of the countries we operate in. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.