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Document updated/added on 07.11.2020

Topic: Recruitment

Equal opportunities statement
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Equal opportunities statement

Equal opportunities statement

When drafting external job ads to go online or in hard copy publications, it’s worth stating your stance on equal opportunities to encourage applications from all suitably qualified candidates.

Legal position

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits you from discriminating against job applicants because of a protected characteristic. The nine protected characteristics are: sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment (transgender status), religion or belief, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. Race also includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Whilst there’s no specific legal obligation to include an Equal Opportunities Statement in job ads, doing so helps to send a message to job applicants about your stance and in turn this can encourage a more diverse range of applicants for the role than might otherwise have been the case. Over time, this can help diversify your workforce.

Positive disability discrimination

Whilst positive discrimination is generally unlawful unless an occupational requirement applies, i.e. treating one candidate more favourably than another because they have a protected characteristic, positive discrimination because of a person's disability is allowed. The Act permits you to treat a disabled applicant more favourably in comparison to a non-disabled person. This means that you could, for example, decide to restrict access to a job vacancy to disabled applicants only and this wouldn’t amount to unlawful direct discrimination against a non-disabled person who wanted to apply for the role. You also have a separate duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled job applicants. This duty then continues throughout the disabled employee’s employment.

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