A few weeks back, a client approached us saying that they wanted to only recruit someone with a certain religious faith. On the surface, and in most instances, this would be classed as discrimination and would be illegal.
In this instance, though, it was for a religious organisation, which are covered by an exception in Equality ACT 2010 Schedule 9.
When advertising, the job advert needs to make it clear why the certain, protected characteristic is required.
A common role for example which is advertised is for either a male/female care worker, corresponding to the relevant gender of the patient. In this situation, most I am sure would understand as to why that is the case.
Here are three steps which you should take to help make sure your advert complies with the law:
- Is there a valid reason why you need to employ someone with a protected characteristic?
- If your advertised job role doesn’t have a need for a protected characteristic, make sure that your advert doesn’t mention/ imply that any of the protected characteristics will be used when employing someone.
- If your job role does require that a protected characteristic to be successful, be clear as to why it is required, and make mention of the law which is being used to allow the exemption.
The protected characteristics are:
- Civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Gender reassignment
In answering the original question “Are you ever allowed to discriminate in a job advert”, the answer is yes you are in a few circumstances.
If you have a role which you are unsure about, our best advice would be to speak to a legal professional specialising in employment law to make sure you don’t run afoul of discrimination laws.