This post will briefly highlight the important tips found in the Equality Act 2010 Code of Practice (Code of Practice) guidance. We hope to provide a brief understanding of the potential steps you may wish to take in avoiding discrimination in the recruitment process.

Employers who wish to employ staff can find themselves confronted by a vast pool of potential candidates and must find an effective means to enable them to find the right person, while staying on the right side of the law.

The Equality Act 2010

Section 4 of the Equality Act sets out the following as being the 9 protected characteristics:

  • Age,
  • Disability,
  • Gender reassignment,
  • Marriage and civil partnership,
  • Pregnancy and maternity,
  • Race,
  • Religion or belief,
  • Sex,
  • Sexual Orientation.

According to Ministry of Justice statistics, the average award for discrimination was roughly £14,000 for the 2014-15 period with the highest award being £557,039 for a sex discrimination case. As a result, with these sums in mind, it is definitely not something to be brushed aside.

The thread which goes through the Code of Practice is whether the recruitment criteria can be objectively justified; if the recruitment criteria was to be objectively tested, would it hold to scrutiny? This should be kept in mind throughout the recruitment process and beyond.  The Code of Practice recommends you establish you a paper trail because this will allow you to justify why certain decisions are made.

As a result, adhering to the Equality Act will allow you to search as widely as possible and provide an effective means of finding the perfect candidate. Consequently, having a diverse workforce will allow you to foster a creative and innovative workforce which will allow your business to reach its full potential.

The Code of Practice, it can be found here:

The ACAS guide for recruitment can be found here:

Like the Code of Practice, the ACAS Guide is a useful resource, especially for small businesses.


While both are lengthy documents, they provide a comprehensive guide to the considerations you should make and in addition, steps that should be taken in avoiding discriminatory practice and making the most of the recruitment process.

However, it should be noted that some forms of discrimination may be justified in certain circumstances. An example would be where the employer partakes in intimate work, for example care work. This kind of work in most situations warrants a certain gender bias.

This is a complex area of law and you should seek advice if you are unsure of your position. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.