- 23 September 2016
Most UK employers are well aware that the law protects job applicants from unlawful discrimination and bias – for example because of their sex, race or age. The majority of businesses have no intention of treating anyone unfairly and yet we continue to see stark imbalances within workforces. Why is this?
Attention has shifted in recent years from cases of outright prejudice, or what employment lawyers would call ‘direct discrimination’, to more subtle forms of bias that can influence a recruiter’s decision-making.
It’s now widely recognised that businesses and educational establishments have a part to play in reducing inequality by tackling forms of conscious and unconscious bias.
Last year professional services firm Deloitte announced they were looking to target the issue of social mobility by removing the name of an applicant’s school and university before interview. The aim – to help ensure that job offers are made on the basis of present potential, not past personal circumstance.
Over the next year a much wider-ranging trial will take place in universities, which should give a much better indication of the extent to which unconscious bias influences recruitment. With the support of the government, Exeter, Huddersfield, Liverpool and Winchester universities have volunteered to carry out “name-blind” admissions designed to counteract assumptions that may be made about a candidate’s race, gender or religion based on their name.
The majority of businesses have no intention of treating anyone unfairly and yet we continue to see stark imbalances within workforces. Why is this?
The outcome of the trial will be of interest to anyone involved in recruitment and selection, and it could even lead to legislative changes. In the meantime, employers may want to ‘equality test’ their own recruitment practices and procedures by withholding information that could lead to bias and discrimination. We regularly provide advice and training to business clients on these issues and we know from experience that it’s worth putting the work up front to avoid potentially damaging and costly discrimination claims from job applicants.
For further information or support with avoiding bias and discrimination in recruitment, please feel free to contact our specialist employment law team.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
About this article
SubjectApplicant X – avoiding bias and discrimination in recruitment
Published23 September 2016
Read, listen and watch our latest insights
- 03 October 2023
Proposed Reforms To The Arbitration Act 1996
The Law Commission has published its Final Report (the Report) on proposed reforms to the Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act).
- 27 September 2023
10 top tips for negotiating a redundancy settlement agreement
In today’s financial market, redundancies are unfortunately becoming a reality for many businesses and employees.
- 22 September 2023
Talking Employment Law: New family friendly rights
In this first podcast in the ‘Talking Employment Law’ series, Lucy Densham Brown and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team summarise some of the big new family-friendly Bills that are working their way through parliament.
- 21 September 2023
Immigration Fees Surcharge – 04 October 2023
The Government has published details of the previously announced increase to visa and sponsorship fees, with the aim of increasing revenue across a range of immigration and nationality visa pathways and associated services.
- 20 September 2023
- Commercial Real Estate
Is your property mixed use? Commercial buyers beware of higher residential SDLT
This article discusses a recent case in which a property buyer calculated the Stamp Duty Land Tax due on the purchase at a lower rate, due to the mixed-use purpose of the property.
- 19 September 2023
- Privacy and Data Protection
Organisations’ use of social media: Data protection
Social media applications (or commonly known as ‘apps’) are being developed all the time and we are constantly being introduced to new social media platforms, some of which take almost no time to gain huge popularity.