Shortlisting: legal considerations

The Equality Act 2010 (here) makes it unlawful to discriminate against applicants (and existing workers) on the basis of a "protected characteristic" that they possess.

The protected characteristics are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • gender
  • sexual orientation. 

During shortlisting these factors should be ignored. Shortlisting must evaluate whether an applicant possesses work-related skills and abilities detailed in the person specification.

Important! Take care not to draw adverse inferences from the presentation or writing style of an application form or CV, if the ability to produce fluent written communication does not form part of the job. 

It may be that the job applicant has a disability such as dyslexia - hence judging them on their ability to present the written information could be discriminatory and unlawful.


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