Employment Law Update 4: Interviews

December 30, 2011 11:18 am - Categorised in: ,

Question  
I have a post available and am about to hold interviews. I am worried that an
unsuccessful candidate might claim compensation for discrimination. What
questions might I safely ask and what subjects should I avoid?

Answer
We all know that employees may bring claims for discrimination. So too, may job applicants.

We discriminate against someone when we treat them worse than other people for some reason.  Where this reason is related to their race, sex, or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, amongst others, then in certain circumstances, they may pursue a claim against us.

Making a mistake in an interview is all too easy to do. Discrimination law is wide and complex.  Questions to candidates about, say, any future plans for a family or about their health or about when they might retire may all seem  innocent but they are all discriminatory.

Here are our top three tips when preparing for interviews:

1. Select your interviewer carefully. Claims will be brought against the employer and the person who discriminated.
2. Thoroughly prepare the interview questions beforehand – focus on the job requirements.
3. Ask the same questions of all candidates. In the interview keep the conversation on the job, the employer’s business and the candidate’s application.

The above may seem cautious but any claim for discrimination will be difficult and expensive to defend and with compensation for discrimination not presently capped and awards for injury to feelings as much as £30,000 this is a claim you need to try to avoid.

Employment law is complex and always changing and you should always seek specialist advice.

Ellis-Fermor & Negus solicitors have offices across the East Midlands.  Please contact Darren Kelly on 01773 744 744; email d.kelly@ellis-fermor.co.uk or visit www.ellis-fermor.co.uk.

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