Last Wednesday, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) presented the topic “Discrimination in Employment” during the Convention on Trade and Investment webinar series. A theme that came up regularly in the question-and-answer segment was that of discrimination when applying for a job.
Under Article 8 of the Equal Opportunities Act, discrimination at the recruitment stage is prohibited.
Whether you are an employer or a hiring human resources professional or a job seeker, it is important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities during the hiring process.
The pressure is now on employers to continually assess their hiring and retention practices. According to a 2020 Glassdoor survey, 76% of job seekers and employees surveyed said that a diverse workforce was an important factor for them when evaluating job opportunities and companies.
Promoting inclusiveness in the workplace by actively recruiting and retaining a diverse set of people is good practice. In addition to being socially responsible, diverse businesses attract top talent, bring better ideas, and increase overall business productivity.
In other words, employees with diverse backgrounds are good for business: both for a positive work culture and a profit margin.
Additionally, according to Built In, which is an online community for startups and tech companies, “Boston Consulting Group surveyed 1,700 companies and found that companies with above-average total diversity had an average of 19% of total diversity. higher innovation income. “
Most companies have a specific recruitment process in place to avoid discrimination. However, data collected at the EOC shows that over the past five years, most complaints have been lodged in the employment category. Although not all complaints are based on the recruitment process, it shows that despite best efforts, some companies may practice biased or discriminatory procedures.
It all starts with the recruiting process.
Inclusiveness should start at the advertising stage.
Ads should be as neutral as possible and focus on the requirements of the job. For example, stating “male security guards wanted” is discrimination on the basis of sex. Another example is saying “workers from San Fernando only”. This is discrimination based on the status of origin, which includes geographic origin.
Processing of requests
The employer must engage in a selection process by pre-selecting candidates, using fair and non-discriminatory selection criteria. All pre-employment tests should assess the candidate’s ability to meet the requirements of the job and not their status or disability unrelated to the proper performance of the job.
All potential candidates must be assessed according to the same criteria. However, some applicants may require reasonable adjustments in order to give them an equal chance to complete the interview. Employers should also provide these reasonable adjustments.
As a general rule, employers should refrain from asking for information regarding the candidate’s personal background, including place of residence, gender, marital status or plans for pregnancy, race, ethnicity, religion and handicap.
However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. The employer must be able to demonstrate that the job requirements fall under one of the exceptions identified in Article 11 of the Equal Opportunities Act. For example, if a person applied for a warehouse position that required heavy lifting, it would be reasonable for the employer to ask about any physical disabilities that could impact the candidate’s ability to perform this task. .
Information on the Equal Opportunities Act
The law addresses discrimination in four broad categories: employment, education, the provision of goods and services, and the provision of housing. Complaints of discrimination must be based on status grounds such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, geographic origin and disability.
The commission continues to host public education sessions with public and private sector organizations to combat discrimination in the workplace and promote inclusion.
File a complaint on the EOC website, www.equalopportunity.gov.tt or email email@example.com if you have been discriminated against