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Avoid Discrimination in Employment

As recruiters we appreciate the importance of avoiding unintentional discrimination. There is often a fine balance between trying to attract the right candidate for the role and unwittingly excluding certain applicants. Below are the 9 characteristics which should be handled carefully in order to avoid unlawful discrimination when recruiting or at work.


  1. Race – Language preference should be avoided unless there is a genuine occupational requirement for these factors. Use terms like “French speaking Solicitor” over “French Solicitor”.

  2. Gender – Unless there is a genuine occupational need for a female or male avoid gender preference as this is sexual discrimination.

  3. Age – This can be a difficult area to specify, you should be careful to avoid using terms such as “young” or asking for a certain amount of years' of experience. Instead ask for the exact experience they would need to have.

  4. Disability –This can include a wide range of subjects and can be very sensitive, so avoid any wording related to physical abilities, even “full driving license” should be avoided unless it is essential to the role.

  5. Pregnancy and Maternity – This is off limits to mention in job adverts and if you’re unsure you should refer back to policies in place.

  6. Marriage and Civil Partnership – All language referring to this should be avoided.

  7. Sexual Orientation – All language referring to this should be avoided.

  8. Gender reassignment – All language referring to this should be avoided.

  9. Religion or Belief – All language referring to this should be avoided.

As a general note I would avoid any language relating to these characteristics unless it is a genuine occupational requirement. The best thing would be to keep the wording as neutral as possible in order to avoid missing out on any candidates. If you are posting a job add I would also include that your company is an “equal opportunities employer” just to make sure you are as inclusive as equal possible.