Job Interview Discrimination

18th December 2012

An article in the Guardian’s Work Blog last week explains how it is possible to serve a potential employer with a discrimination questionnaire if you suspect foul play.

A report from the all-party parliamentary group on race and community, focused on black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi female workers, has uncovered racial discrimination and other barriers at the recruitment stage.

It also found that many job applicants of ethnic minority had changed their name or appearance to try to overcome prejudices and when they did their scope for getting a job increased.

The Equality Act 2010 means that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics’ set out in the act, which include race, sex, disability and sexual orientation.

The discrimination questionnaire

Under the Act interviewees can serve a discrimination questionnaire on an employer if they think a prospective employer has discriminated against them.

The form includes standard questions such as asking the employer to what extent it agrees with the interviewee’s version of events; what the employer’s version of events is; and if they accept that the interviewee was treated unlawfully.

Employers are not obliged to reply but if they do not or their answers are evasive, a tribunal may infer that the employer has discriminated against the interviewee.

Serving a discrimination questionnaire will not get an interviewee a job they weren’t offered in the first place. But it may be an important tool for anyone who deserves to be offered a position based on their skills and qualifications, but have faced the prejudices of discriminating employers.

Our Principal Consultant Vernal Scott says: The Equality Act 2010 and its protected characteristics exist for good reason and employers, employees and job seekers should make use of it with integrity.

Just because someone applied and was interviewed doesn’t mean they are entitled to the job; potential employers have a right to choose the best candidate; sometimes that person will be from an ethnic or minority group, and at other times, not.

Responsible employers will be willing and able to demonstrate that they have nothing to hide through transparent and fair recruitment (and employment) practices.”

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