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How to Avoid Discriminating During the Recruitment Process

How to Avoid Discriminating During the Recruitment Process

Did you know that it’s actually unlawful, under the Equality Act 2010, to discriminate on the grounds of certain protected characteristics such as sex, race, ethnicity, disability, age, gender reassignment, religion, pregnancy, marriage/partnership or belief? The risks of getting the recruitment process wrong can result in being accused of discrimination and being taken to an Industrial Tribunal. This will be damaging for any business and could be particularly catastrophic for SMEs.

Here’s our short guide which explains how you can avoid discriminating when growing your team.

Fail to prepare is to prepare to fail

It’s important that you spend time at the beginning of the process carefully considering the role and requirements of the position you are hiring for. You should create a pre-determined role profile which establishes the key criteria that the successful candidate should meet to successfully fulfil your requirements. This profile should be strictly adhered to throughout the process to ensure that you recruit ONLY to meet the specifications in this profile and do not consider external factors, that could be considered discriminatory.

Use this role profile to create a detailed job description and person specification documents. In these documents, you should clearly describe the daily duties of the role and the skills required from the successful candidate. The duties outlined must be ESSENTIAL for the post as well as RELEVANT, NON-DISCRIMINATORY, and JUSTIFIABLE requirements. This not only ensures you attract the right candidates but also protects you as an employer.

Have a written selection policy

Add an extra layer of protection to your recruitment process by ensuring you have a written policy covering your selection process. This should cover the content of the job advertisement and selection procedures and how to conduct interviews. Train all interviewers thoroughly on this process to ensure there are no breaks in the chain.

Document genuine occupational requirements

There are times when you genuinely need to positively discriminate. For example, if you require a male only nurse to care for male patients to protect their dignity. In these instances, it is justifiable to discriminate but it’s always best to check with the Equal Opportunities Commission http://www.eoc.org.uk/ to ensure you are compliant with your legal obligations.

Be careful with the language you use

When creating job descriptions, adverts or person specifications, be careful with the language you use. Phrases like “fit” or “energetic” could be seen to discriminate against those with disabilities while requiring a minimum number of years’ experience could equally be seen to discriminate on the basis of age.

Have an equal opportunities statement

It’s always good practice to feature your equal opportunities statement in your job advertisement to demonstrate your commitment right from the start.

Make reasonable adjustments for the right candidate

You are legally obliged to recruit the person who best fits your job profile. If they tick all the boxes of your person specification but have a disability, you are legally obliged to consider making an adjustment to the role, your business or premises to enable them to perform their duties.

You are able to request information from applicants as to whether they have special requirements to undertake the role. This will enable you to make any adjustments required to enable them to attend an interview.

Structured and systematic interviewing

At the interview stage, you should have clearly defined selection criteria and weightings that are objectively justifiable. Questions should correspond directly to the job description and you should have a standardised scoring system. This will help you objectively evaluate all candidates on their SUITABILITY FOR THE ROLE only and not on other factors.

Test with caution

Tests are required sometimes to assess a candidate’s experience or suitability. For example, if the role requires candidates to be competent using a certain piece of software. Tests should only be used if they are both relevant and justifiable for the selection process. There should be no discrimination aspects to the test and the business should make reasonable adjustments to allow every candidate to take the test.

Document everything

By documenting every part of your recruitment process you can ensure that your recruitment decisions are justifiable should you ever be challenged on your decision. Make sure you keep records for at least 12 months.

Equal opportunities and monitoring discrimination

It’s good practice as a business to collect information for equal opportunities monitoring but this information should be kept completely separate from the selection panel. Selectors should never be provided with this information.


It is vital to consider every aspect of your recruitment process to ensure you are protected from being accused of discrimination. Always ensure that every part of the process is relevant, non-discriminatory and objectively justifiable. For professional advice on your recruitment process or equal opportunities policies, contact us by calling 0330 555 1139 or email us at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

Five Payroll Issues Your Business Must Understand in 2016

Five Payroll Issues Your Business Must Understand in 2016

Payroll is often a major concern for many small business owners as every year there are so many rules and regulations to adhere to. 2016 is no exception and there has seen a plethora of legislation changes that impact businesses’ payroll responsibilities. From changes to tax rates to National Insurance updates, the National Living Wage to Auto Enrolment, there are so many things business owners need to get their head around to be compliant.

Here are five of the key issues you need to understand with links to resources that provide detailed information.

Tax rates

• There are no imminent changes to the percentage basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax.
• There have been changes to the tax rate LIMITS, however.
• The basic rate tax limit has been increased to £32,000 and the higher rate threshold has risen to £43,000.
• The National Insurance Upper Earnings Limit has increased in line with this rise.
• The tax-free personal allowance has increased to £11,000.
For more information on tax rates visit gov.uk.

National Living Wage

• The National Living Wage has come into force, replacing the National Minimum Wage.
• Although it is only applicable to workers over 25, it is financial affecting many businesses.
• The NLW starts at £7.20 per hour and will rise to £9 per hour by 2020.
• Workers younger than 25 are still regulated by the basic National Minimum Wage.
• The government is seriously enforcing the payment of both the national living wage and the national minim wage.
• Fines have been doubled for non-payment to 200% of arrears for non-compliance with a maximum penalty of £20,000 per worker.

For more information on the National Living Wage visit www.livingwage.gov.uk.

National Insurance

• The introduction of the New State Pension in April resulted in a new single tier, flat rate State Pension for everyone who will reach State Pension age after 5 April 2016.
• It will make it clearer for people to understand what they will receive so that they can plan for their retirement.
• The State Pension replaces the existing basic and additional State Pension for those who reach State Pension age after 5 April 2016.
• No one is now allowed to ‘contract out’ of the State Second Pension in favour of their own company pension. This rule affects everyone who pays into a final salary pension.
• This means that national insurance contributions have gone up by an average of 15% for around 6 million people.

Find out more about the new State Pension here.

Student Loan repayments

• Changes in April to the Student Loads repayments have resulted in two types of student loan deductions.
o Plan 1 – This is for students who took out a loan before the 1 September 2012. They will be required to make student loan payment contributions if they earn over the threshold of £17,335.
o Plan 2 – This is for students who took out a loan during or after the 1 September 2012. For these students, payments contributions will be required if they earn over the threshold of £21,000.
• Businesses should use the ‘New Starter Checklist’ to gather information about employee’s student loans.

You can find out more about paying student loan contributions here.

Auto Enrolment

• The new Auto Enrolment Legislation means a fundamental change to workplace pensions for SMEs in particular.
• The scheme has been developed by the government to ensure UK workers are adequately prepared for retirement by encouraging them to better save for the future.
• Businesses have a legal obligation to start paying into employees’ pension funds and employers must automatically enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme that meets the conditions of the legislation.

You can find out everything you need to know about Auto Enrolment here.


Keeping on top of your payroll responsibilities can be a real challenge for many small businesses. Some businesses opt for bespoke payroll software which can really help as most packages will automate your responsibilities and are updated as and when rates or regulations change. It can still be a time-consuming and complicated task however and many businesses choose to outsource their payroll to a professional firm. By outsourcing to the experts you can save yourself time and hassle, and ensure you are on top of regulations and paperwork.

To discuss how Crosse HR can help shoulder the burden of your payroll responsibilities contact us by calling 0330 555 1139 or email us at hello@crossehr.co.uk.