Discrimination at the recruitment stage
In a recent case, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) held that Tennis Ireland discriminated on the grounds of age when recruiting for the post of chief executive. The Adjudication Officer held that the complainant was “significantly better qualified” than the successful comparator who was 14 years his junior. In making his case, the complainant drew attention to the fact that the word “mature” had been marked on his interview notes, which he claimed was a direct reference to his age. The complainant was awarded €6,500 in compensation for age discrimination.
This decision highlights the importance of conducting a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory recruitment process from the outset. The Employment Equality Acts, 1998 - 2015 ("the EEAs") prohibit discrimination by employers on nine grounds as follows: gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller Community. Importantly, Section 8 of the EEAs applies to prospective as well as current employees by prohibiting discrimination at the recruitment stage. The WRC can award up to €13,000 compensation to prospective employees who are found to have been subject to discrimination.
Top 5 tips for interviews
- Ensure the job description and requirements are carefully drafted in any advertisement. They must not be discriminatory or make explicit or implicit reference to the age, gender or any other characteristics of the potential employee
- Ensure interviewers are trained and are aware of equality legislation
- During interviews, candidates should all be asked the same core questions, to ensure a consistent and fair approach
- The selection decision and any supporting evidence should be documented, including notes from the interviews. This should include the reasons why the successful candidate was chosen. It should be borne in mind at the time of taking interview notes that these can be requested by the candidate under data protection legislation
- All records in relation to the interview process should be retained for 12 months.
For further information you can consult the SFA guideline on the equality implications of the recruitment process or contact Ciara McGuone on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 605 1668.