Types of discrimination

There are a number of types of discrimination that you need to be aware of, and know how to prevent in your company. These include age, race, gender, religion, marital status, disability and pregnancy. As @ACFStepChange tweeted, there are 9 protected characteristics in total, outlined in the Equality Act of 2010. Within these categories, there are two types of discrimination: direct and indirect.

Direct is when someone is treated differently from another person, due to an attribute that they have. An example of this is choosing not to hire someone because they are of an age where they are thinking about starting a family.

Indirect is when someone is put at a disadvantage when a general rule is applied to all employees. This could be giving staff the opportunity of working overtime, when you are already aware that someone in the team has other commitments so won’t be able to work.

Steps to prevent discrimination in recruitment

When it comes to hiring new members of staff, there are several things that you need to bear in mind throughout the recruitment process. First, when advertising for the role you need to show the ad to everyone you already employ. The ad itself also needs to appeal to everyone, focusing on the job role and experience required. Avoid using terms that discriminate between male and female applicants, for example, as the job should be open to anyone.

CV shortlisting is another part of the recruitment process, and you need to be very careful here. You must invite people to attend an interview based on their skills, not things like how old they are or if they have a disability. The applicants should be well suited to the job criteria, nothing else. As discussed in our recent blog about what employers are looking for in a CV, candidates should never include age, date of birth or marital status anyway.

Throughout the interview itself, it is always best to have a list of pre-prepared questions that you are going to ask potential candidates. This will prevent you from going off-topic, potentially opening you up for discrimination opportunities. Don’t be quick to jump to conclusions about the candidate either – try and assess them for their experience as opposed to their characteristics. Of course, you still need to make sure they are a good culture fit but you can do this discreetly.

We hope you have found this article useful and, as always, if you have any questions on how to improve your recruitment strategy, or how to avoid discrimination, please contact us.