Knowing your legal obligation in the recruitment and selection process is important. Many of Ireland’s reputable employers have found in themselves in difficulties for the manner in which they handled their recruitment and selection procedures. They include Ryanair, Iarnrod Eireann, Superquinn, Revenue Commissioners, Trinity College, University College Dublin, etc. etc.
Under the Equality Act, 1998 & 2004 a company cannot discriminate or be seen to be discriminating on the following grounds:
- Civil (Marital) Status
- Family Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Religious beliefs
- Membership of the Travelling Community
When recruiting you should take note of the following pitfalls: –
- There can be legal Pitfalls in Advertisements:
- Advertisements which declare a preference for a person of a particular sex or civil (marital) status are seen as unlawful.You can not advertise a job title connoted a particular sex, such as waiter, salesgirl, or postman.
- Advertisements should not refer to candidates as young and dynamic as this excludes elderly people from applying for the vacancy.
- There can be legal Pitfalls in Job Application forms:
Job application forms should contain a wide range of questions e.g. on education, training, experience and competence. Questions on marital status, number of children, date of birth, age, place of birth and medical history should not be on the job application form.
- There can be legal Pitfalls in references:
It can be said that while compiling a reference confine yourself to a representative set of factual indisputable statements, which will be on safe ground. Never give a reference, written or orally which you cannot back up with factual evidence.
Make sure that you check up references before the candidate starts with the company. If you receive a bad reference after the candidate has started this will leave you and the candidate in a very awkward position.
- There can be legal Pitfalls in interview questions:
As a result an interviewer cannot ask the following questions relating to the aforementioned points: –
- How old are you?
- Are you married? When did you marry?
- Do you have children?
- When are you planning to have a child?
- Which religion do you belong to?
- Do you have disabilities?
- Which country are you from?
- Which race do you belong to?
- Are you by any chance a member of the travelling community?
However, if the candidates start talking of their own accord regarding the above mentioned points then it is possible to discuss this further. Be careful how you approach these points. If any of the above is mentioned in the CV then this can be discussed as well.
After a candidate has revealed one of these points you cannot dismiss the candidate based on this, unless that particular point prohibits the candidate from fulfilling the post. For instance a person who has a serious hearing problem could have genuine issues working in a call centre answering phones.
The selection should be driven by the key job analysis components and that all decisions and interviews should be held as non bias and objective as possible.