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Avoid Writing a Discriminative Job Post

Preparing a job post involves a lot more thought and consideration than many perceive. The words you use, content you include and tone of the advert can have an adverse effect on your recruitment strategy if they are not in line with industry standards.

There are two main types of discrimination which you must be aware of:

  1. Direct discrimination
  2. Indirect discrimination

If your job advert specifically makes discriminatory statements then it will be considered as a direct discrimination against candidates. Job adverts that do not directly state discriminatory criteria are usually considered as indirect discrimination and the employer may still be held accountable for not meeting industry standards and complying with employment law.

Types of discrimination you must avoid in your job post

  • Sex discrimination (this includes criteria relating to maternity)
  • Partnership status
  • Gender and gender reassignment
  • Age discrimination
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Trade union membership

Here is a guide on what you can and cannot say in your job post…

Racial Discrimination

  • Racist job posts will be taken very seriously and can result in a law suit filed against your company.
  • In some cases, a company may need to hire individuals from certain ethnic groups and this can be considered as positive discrimination.
  • You can never state the ethnicity or skin colour of applicant you want to apply for the job.
  • If you require a candidate with proficiency in a certain language, rather than saying you want ‘Italian’ applicants, you can state that the role requires ‘Italian speaking candidates’.

Sexual Discrimination

  • You can never state the gender of applicant you would prefer or want for the job.
  • Even job titles can be gender biased e.g. waitress. If you are advertising for this position, you must use the term ‘waiting assistant’ or ‘server’.
  • If the role has no legal requirement for the employee to be a particular gender, then you cannot advertise in a gender-biased manner.

Age Discrimination

  • As a recruiter, you cannot request that candidates of a certain age group to apply for the job.
  • Not only must you avoid specific ages, you must be careful with regards to the type of words you use. ‘Youthful’ or ‘mature’ are two words that should be avoided when describing the type of candidates that should apply for the job.

Disability Discrimination

  • Law states that a business is expected to accommodate employees with disabilities to an extent that does not hinder them financially. Therefore, stating that applicants with disabilities cannot apply for the job is illegal and will likely result in a legal case.
  • There may be certain jobs that require a level of physical fitness in order to perform the duties of the role properly, however, when advertising for vacancies that do not, then you must choose your words carefully and maintain an ‘equal opportunities employer’.


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