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“When was the last time you did drugs?”

And other interview questions that put your company at risk. Questions such as “do you get PMT?” and “Are you planning on having children soon?” are amongst some of the questions that prospective employees face, according to a recent study by London based employment law solicitors, Thomas Mansfield.

And other interview questions that put your company at risk. Questions such as “do you get PMT?” and “Are you planning on having children soon?” are amongst some of the questions that prospective employees face, according to a recent study by London based employment law solicitors, Thomas Mansfield.

In this age of political correctness, the study found that students and graduates are facing overly familiar – or bordering on intrusive – lines of questioning. What may be considered friendliness or ‘banter’ by some recruiters could be perceived by candidates as discrimination or offensive behaviour, leaving companies open to legal consequences. HR Professional, Renae Jackson, explained: “Discrimination can occur during the candidate screening stages, the interview process and really anywhere throughout the remainder of the employee life cycle.

So the laws are there for the right reasons. Even the most well-intentioned employer can unwittingly leave themselves open to litigation though. HR professionals must taking care to consider things like spell check facilities for candidates on the recruitment website and make sure that nothing will either directly or indirectly disadvantage applicants with a disability.”

UK employment law makes it very clear what can and cannot be said within the interview room, and the repercussions can be severe if a company is found guilty. Pay-outs can be high and could even spell the end for smaller businesses. Reputational damage can also be significant, both for the recruiter as a professional and for the company as an employer.

Meredith Hurst, Senior Partner at Thomas Mansfield, explains: “Employers, without even realising, can ask seemingly innocent questions and be breaking the law. However with employment law information so readily available online, there really is no room for insensitive questions or illegal practices.” The findings come after Nigel Farage revealed his party’s plans to axe discrimination law – a move that could prompt an explosion in job discrimination that would be entirely without redress. 

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