There are numerous methods employers may use to attract applicants for an open position. One of the most common approaches is to place advertisements in newspapers or on recruitment websites which are aimed at a “target group” of potential employees.
Relying on word of mouth as a method may lead to allegations of discrimination as certain categories of applicant may be indirectly excluded from the process. Once the method of advertising is selected, all applications received should be reviewed.
It’s important to remember when advertising vacancies that job applicants are protected by employment equality legislation. Any advertisement for a position should give a fair and accurate description of the job, including job title, reporting procedure, how to apply, location of the job and the duties and responsibilities of the role.
Other areas to include could be the deadline for submitting applications, the remuneration and benefits package, and skills and experience needed including academic qualifications. As a potential employer, it is essential to remember that it is unlawful to make discriminatory recruitment decisions based on the grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the Traveller community.
Employment equality legislation protects people from discrimination in the context of recruitment and employers need to be mindful not to exclude any potential applicant through careless wording in job advertisements.
The advertisement should accurately reflect the nature of the job on offer and not suggest that the position is more beneficial than the employer intends it to be. As the applicant will apply for the position on the basis of the content of the advertisement, the wording of the advertisement may be deemed to form part of the overall employment contract.
Employers who are found to have discriminated against job applicants under one of the nine grounds set out above will suffer financial as well as reputational penalties. In terms of compensation, job applicants may win compensation under employment equality legislation despite the fact that they are not yet employed.
If a job candidate is unsuccessful with their job application for discriminatory reasons, the employer may be liable to make a payment of compensation of up to €13,000.