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Positive action in recruitment and promotion – will your business use it?

18 April 2011

Employers can now lawfully treat one person more favourably than another when in connection with recruitment or promotion because they have a protected characteristic (although they are not obliged to).

This is, however, subject to a number of limitations and employers can only do so if the candidates are of equal merit. Employers will therefore have to ensure their rating criteria are capable of demonstrating this.

The employer is also required to ‘reasonably think’ that those with a protected characteristic are under-represented in the workforce or suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic. This must be supported by evidence.

The employer can only legally discriminate if to do so is a proportionate way of achieving the above aims.

Failure to demonstrate any of the above could lead to a claim for discrimination against the employer, which means, with so many uncertainties and only limited advantages, there is little business case for using the new powers.

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