How to avoid legal hot water when hiring


The recruitment process is crucial to any company who wants the right, most skilled and experienced employees at their disposal, but rushing this process can cause a number of legal issues for companies.

Companies should always maintain they avoid discrimination in line with the 2010 Equality act, protected characteristics include; age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, race, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation and sex. This includes the format and arrangement of any application form, so that they are appropriate and inclusive of all. Specific requirements for the interview must also be flexible when considering these characteristics, for example those who follow Islam may not be able to attend at a certain time.

Ideally interview panels should have someone on them who has had some type of equality and diversity training, to help make sure no issues are encountered. Shortlisting must have the input of more than one person, every stage should maintain objectivity and reference the person specification.

Unconscious bias is also a possibility, this can happen even if it isn’t on purpose and interviewers must always analyse only the important aspects of a person to the job in question. Again, using more than one person in the interview process reduces the risk of this bias.

To reduce the risk of liability for any discriminatory recruitment processes, employers should have in place an equal opportunities policy and ensure that all staff involved in recruitment have received training on equality and diversity. This will help to show that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent discrimination occurring.


It is important that all staff, regardless of their nationality, can produce the appropriate documentation to show they have the right to work in the UK. In 12 July 2016, under the Immigration Act, the maximum penalty for employing an illegal worker rose to £20,000 per worker. From the same date, the maximum prison sentence increased from two years to five years.

For advice on your HR strategy please contact HPC on this website or through our social media channels.

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