Avoiding scam claims in job applications

Unfortunately, there are a minority who seek to abuse anti-discrimination legislation by bringing false claims in the Employment Tribunals. These scams usually focus on job applications and the scam operates by an individual submitting two job applications which only differ on particular characteristics. For example, one application has a typical Anglo-Saxon name, and the other does not. Where one application is accepted and the other rejected; the applicant then commences a discrimination claim.

Employers often pay out a few hundred pounds to avoid the nuisance of such claims. Employment Tribunals are aware of such scams and generally will not award compensation when they suspect the claim has resulted from such a scam.

Recently phony claims have been in the context of age discrimination where an applicant has applied for a job clearly suitable for a young person and stressed their age in the application. If he/she is not invited for interview then a discrimination claim is commenced. In one particular case, an individual commenced four claims, alleging that the job adverts were discriminatory as the words ‘recent graduate’ or ‘school leaver’ implied they were aimed at younger persons, even though he had no intention of applying for the jobs. His claims were dismissed in their entirety.

The important point to note is that you should ensure job adverts do not contain words or phrases which could imply a job is only suitable for a person of a certain age, unless the requirement for individuals of a certain age for a particular job can be justified as a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. If you are unsure about particular wording or whether a requirement is justified, we recommend that you seek our advice.