Young Female Workers Wanted!

March 21st 2016

Employees walking through a busy office boardroom

I hope this headline caught your eye as being discriminatory. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) adverts which are discriminatory are still common especially in relation to sex or age. An individual who applies unsuccessfully for a job will point to a discriminatory advert that the employer’s failure to offer them the job was unlawful discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission are still receiving 100’s of complaints over adverts that are discriminatory and they consider that businesses are still breaching equality laws, often without realising it.  Examples of discriminatory adverts in the last year alone include looking for a “Saturday boy” to work in a garage and a bar looking for a “part-time shot girl”.  Recruitment agencies have also advertised jobs stating that over 45s need not apply and one company restricted applicants for a general warehouse position to only UK passport holders.  

As a result of this analysis, the Commission has recently produced a series of 4 guidance publications on advertising as follows:

  • A good practice checklist for advertisers and publishers.

  • Frequently asked questions about what is lawful advertising for jobs, goods, facilities and services; and accommodation.

  • What equality law means for advertisers and publishers.

  • Making an enquiry about a discriminatory advert.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said “… the high volume of complaints we receive each year shows employers and service providers have sometimes opened themselves to potentially costly legal action.  This is usually as a result of confusion about what is and isn’t permitted by equality legislation …”.  

What should you do?

If you are involved in the process of advertising jobs then don’t be caught out and do have a look at the recent brief guidance that the EHRC has produced to assist you.  If you have any concerns or questions regarding the adverts that you are placing then do not hesitate to get in contact to obtain specific legal advice. If you get it wrong, you can face a claim with uncapped compensation and you could face enforcement action from the EHRC.

This is an important reminder for companies to reappraise their equality and diversity measures to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the job they want. Failure to comply with equality laws can also have an effect on reputational damage so it is worth taking the time to make sure adverts are fair and lawful.

If you need any further advice, please do get in contact. Call Philomena Price, Employment Partner at Spratt Endicott Solicitors on 01295 204147, or email

*Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.*