Job centre discriminatory advert farce
Job centre discriminatory advert farce a cautionary tale for employers
A leading law firm is calling on employers not to mire themselves in a muddle of discrimination law, after a Jobcentre Plus website refused to place an advert for a reliable worker.
The case which has triggered a hail of publicity this week saw recruitment firm boss Nicole Mamo seek to place an advert for a 5.80-an-hour domestic cleaner on her local Jobcentre Plus website.
The text of the advert ended by stating that any applicants for the post ''must be very reliable and hard-working''. But when Ms Mamo called the Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, the following day she was told that her advert would not be displayed instore. A Jobcentre Plus worker claimed that the word ''reliable'' meant they could be sued for discriminating against unreliable workers.
But Mace & Jones solicitor Martin Edwards, one of the UKs leading employment lawyers, branded the incident high farce and worrying proof of an urgent need for employers and employees to better understand discrimination law.
This case is clearly absurd and the job centre employee has got it badly wrong, he said. The advert wording is not discriminatory at all and using the word reliable is perfectly acceptable as the Job Centre has now clarified. But the case does bring into sharp focus the need for employers and staff to properly understand discrimination law. With so many changes to discrimination law over the last few years, and more to come with the Equality Bill later this year, I fear muddling the law will become a more common problem. We recommend employers to seek advice from expert advisers who can demystify the law, and help to ensure understanding and compliance with the legal rules through an 'equal opportunities' audit of the organisation.