Go to the top of the class! A report recently published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) stated that responses given by recruitment agents, to questions on discrimination between UK and foreign-born workers, were “superior on every single question” to those given by employers.
However, the report also highlighted areas in recruiters’ knowledge where there was room for improvement, and it is clear that these issues are likely to become more complex and subject to further change in a post Brexit UK.
Most recruiters knew that an individual’s right to work in the UK must be checked before offering employment, and that UK and foreign-born workers are protected by the same equality law.
More than half also correctly identified that employers cannot advertise jobs in Britain exclusively in a foreign language, in comparison to only 39% of employers.
However, 28% of recruitment agents incorrectly believed that employers are allowed to advertise for people with English as their first language. In fact, employers are permitted to request English language skills, but not that English should be a candidate’s mother tongue.
Also of some concern is the fact that 10% of recruitment agents reported that employers had specifically asked for UK born workers to fill a vacancy. Recruiters should remember that such instructions are unlawful and that both the employer and the recruitment agency may be liable if the agency complies with the request.
Theresa Mimnagh, Senior Legal Consultant at Lawspeed, commented: “We know first-hand that our clients take their legal responsibilities very seriously and seek advice when needed. It is encouraging to see this diligence reflected in the EHRC report, not least because the penalties for failing to comply can be severe, both in terms of tribunal awards and commercial damage.”
Lawspeed specialises in advising recruiters on how to avoid costly ET claims, by providing advice on discrimination legislation, client contract requirements and contracts with suppliers and contractors. Please call us on 01273 236 236.