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Unlawful adverts put job opportunities at risk


The Equality and Human Rights Commission have warned that thousands of people could be at risk of being denied jobs and services each year due to the publishing of unlawful and discriminatory adverts.


The Commission has received more than a hundred complaints of illegal, discriminatory, adverts in little over a year, some of these included:


  • Sex or age discrimination by seeking 'young' or female workers, where this was not a necessary requirement for the job. This included an advert for a ‘Saturday boy' to work in a garage, and a bar looking for a 'part-time shot girl'.


  • Age discrimination by a recruitment agency stating that those over 45s need not apply, and by a club advertising salsa classes 'not suitable for people over 60' in a local paper.


  • Race discrimination by recruitment agencies advertising solely in foreign languages - such as vacancies for taxi drivers only advertised in Polish; or conversely restricting a general warehouse position to UK passport-holders.


  • Sexual orientation discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when casting agencies were asked to supply only homosexual applicants to work as extras in a television programme featuring a Gay Pride story. In reality these roles should have been open to all.


  • Disability discrimination by a hotel advertising that it would not offer accommodation to disabled people.


All of the above adverts are in complete breach of the Equality Act 2010 which is a framework that protects against direct and indirect discrimination of people who fall under the nine protected characteristics, set below in alphabetical order:


  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion and belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation


Government departments, service providers, employers, education providers, providers of public functions, associations and membership bodies and transport providers all have a responsibility under the Act. Employers also have a legal obligation to provide effective reasonable adjustments in recruitment and at work. This is not only the law, it is good practise. Reasonable adjustments can take many forms and they needn't be costly, they can be as minimal as allocating a parking space to an interviewee with restricted mobility.


Check out our Reasonable Adjustments Planning Ahead infographic to get you started on your journey towards diversity confidence.


Download an accessible version of the infographic here.