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It can be difficult for employers to know exactly what can and cannot be asked at an interview, for fear of discrimination claims.

A recent employment tribunal decision was upheld by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), which demonstrated that a nursery did not discriminate against a Muslim woman who wore a jilbab (a garment which covers the body from neck to ankle), by making it clear that the nursery’s uniform policy stated that garments worn should not present a tripping hazard.

Interview advice for employers 

Consider the time and place of an interview:

  • Check that the interview venue has access for disabled candidates
  • Do not hold an interview during a religious holiday, which could discriminate against an applicant from a particular religion
  • Be flexible in allowing candidates with children to attend an interview at a time requested by them

Interview process:

  • From application to selection, keep a paper trail to show how you reached a decision of who to employ.  This should include:
    • A selection criteria
    • Notes on the shortlisting process
    • Interview questions
    • Interviewer’s notes

Interview questions:

  • Shortlisted candidates should each be asked the same questions to allow answers to be directly compared
  • Do not ask questions about a candidate’s personal life; for example, whether they plan to have children

Selection process:

  • Before making a job offer, ensure that the candidate can confirm they are not bound by any restrictive covenants from their previous job
  • If making a conditional offer, this must be subject to criteria that are not discriminatory.  Acceptable examples include providing satisfactory references and confirmation that the candidate is free to work in the UK
  • It is good practice to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates if they request this.  Failure to provide feedback could lead a candidate to think that a decision was made based on discriminatory grounds 

Employer advice on hiring and firing

To ensure that you are not leaving yourself open to discrimination claims when hiring or firing employees, speak to a specialist employment lawyer who can talk you through the relevant processes and advise you based on your individual circumstances.

Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.

Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.

Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.