Feeds

Asking for experience in job ads could land you in hot water

Hiring policies need review to comply with age laws

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Employers must curb their demands for fixed amounts of experience from job applicants to avoid falling foul of discrimination legislation, an employment law specialist has warned.

The caution comes after a secretary won a case against her former employer for dismissing her because she was too young.

Catherine Barker, an employment law specialist at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said advertising jobs as being for people with a fixed number of years of experience could also discriminate against the young.

"Ideally, employers should stop this, unless they think they can objectively justify it," said Barker. "It has to be taken on a case by case basis, but employers will have to sit down and think about why they require that experience.

"Do they genuinely need this number of years of experience? They should also create a paper trail to show that they have thought about it," said Barker. "They would also ideally carry out an age review of all policies and procedures to look for age bias."

Megan Thomas was a 19-year-old membership secretary at the Eight Member Club in London but was dismissed after she was told that she was not mature enough to deal with the club's members.

An employment tribunal ruled that Thomas had been discriminated against on grounds of her age. It is thought to be the first time that the UK's age discrimination legislation has been used to protect a young, rather than an old, worker.

The Eight Members Club said it would appeal the ruling.

Barker said that the case would raise awareness the potential pitfalls of age discrimination against young, as well as old, people.

"I think as awareness of the age regulations sinks in we'll see more of these types of claims," she said. "Regulations do cover discrimination against people of all ages, they will cover younger as well as older workers. Undoubtedly there is discrimination. I think people make presumptions about younger people and their abilities and experiences in same way as they do for older workers."

Barker said employers would have to review all their staff policies to weed out discriminatory practices. This, she said, could include advertising for staff of a fixed number of years' experience.

"How to avoid liability generally is make sure that through your whole employment process from recruitment to promotions to selections for redundancy you have clear, objective criteria," she said. "There should be a job description and a person specification based solely on the skills required to do the job, avoiding references to so many years' experience."

Barker said the law allowed for recruitment based on specific periods of experience, but an employer would need to satisfy strict criteria in order to avoid discrimination claims.

"[You can do it] provided you can objectively justify that the experience required achieves a legitmate aim and that there is a proportionate means of fulfilling that aim," said Barker. "For example if you're an aircraft pilot and the employer can demonstrate that only when pilots have achieved so many hours flying time can they fly safely unaided, then that may fulfil the defence."

"Employers need to ask themselves is there any less discriminatory way to achieve the same result?" said Barker.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.