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You may have seen in the media in recent months examples of companies whose job ads have been found to be discriminatory. Indeed businesses face not just breaking the law by publishing a job advert that is deemed discriminatory, it can also cause serious reputational damage. As a business, it is important to know how to avoid the potential for any form of discrimination in your hiring practice.

Discrimination law in recruitment 

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers, whether small, medium, or large, private or public, have to take steps to avoid discrimination across their whole recruitment process, including advertising, selection for interview, interview, assessments, and choosing successful candidates. Failure to do so is unlawful. This means that businesses should not treat one candidate less favourably than another candidate due to a personal characteristic such as religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or age.

Discrimination during the recruitment process and selection due to a personal characteristic can take several forms, including:

  • not selecting a candidate for interview
  • not hiring someone 
  • assuming someone is not able to perform a role
  • paying someone less than another worker without good reason
  • letting personal stereotypes or preconceptions influence who you interview or recruit

Unfortunately, discrimination can occur even when it is not intended, hence it is vital that your business understands how this can happen and be mitigated through effective policies, procedures, and training.

How to avoid discrimination in a job advert

There are many ways to avoid any form of discrimination when advertising a vacancy, including:

  • don’t use gender-specific language - e.g. salesman
  • don’t add an age range for the role but also avoid using implying terms such as ‘youthful’ or ‘mature’
  • don’t add criteria that are not necessary for the job, such as ‘requires driving license’ for an office based role
  • use neutral wording where possible
  • ask a person skilled in employment law to check your job adverts before publishing

The key to avoiding discrimination in a job advert is to check the wording used carefully before the ad is published. Take the time to see how the advert may be perceived by those with a protected characteristic.  

If you are unsure how the Equality Act 2010 affects your business and how to ensure your job adverts are written in accordance with discrimination law, speak to one of the specialist employment lawyers at Lawbite, who will be able to guide you through the process.

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Starting a hiring process is an exciting moment for any company because it means that your business is growing or that you are looking to find the right person to help your business succeed. As detailed in this article, it is important to ensure your job adverts are not discriminatory and it preventdamage your business' reputation.

If you are an employer and need legal advice, our expert employment lawyers are ready to help to make sure you have the right recruitment process in place and avoid any type of discrimination.

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In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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