Essential points 

  • To avoid discrimination in recruitment when advertising for posts and interviewing job candidates, organisations should not ask questions about a candidate’s age, or their health or disabilities, except where these are necessary for reasonable adjustments to be made. 
  • Organisations cannot reject job candidates because they have a spent conviction or are a member of a trade union. 
  • When selecting between two equally well-qualified candidates, employers can prefer a candidate from an under-represented group where this corrects an imbalance in its workforce. 
  • Direct discrimination can occur (in relation to recruitment) in discriminatory statements about a protected characteristic – both inside and outside an active recruitment process. For example, it is unlawful to make a comment, or take an action, indicating that there has been a choice of not wanting to hire someone with a protected characteristic. This applies even if there is no identifiable victim.  
  • Employers do not have to provide a reference for a former employee (unless there’s a written agreement to do so) but, if they do, the reference must be fair and accurate. 
  • Providing a misleading or inaccurate reference could lead to a claim for damages or discrimination (from both the subject and recipient of the reference). 

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‚ÄčPlease note: While every care has been taken in compiling this content, CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. 

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