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Equality Act and pre-employment health questionnaires

Is your business aware of the Equality Act and the impact this will have on you, specifically when recruiting new staff?

You will not be able to ask job applicants questions about their health and whether they have a disability other than in specified circumstances. Employers will still be entitled to screen applicants about health after making a job offer (or after including the applicant in a pool of short-listed applicants).

The circumstances referred to above are:

• in relation to considering reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process;
• in establishing whether an applicant will be able to carry out a function that is
Intrinsic to the work concerned;
• in monitoring diversity;
• in relation to taking positive action (i.e. recruiting someone from an under-
represented group when an employer has the choice between two or more
candidates who are as ‘qualified’ as each other); and
• in relation to filling a position in respect of which having a particular disability or is a genuine occupational requirement.

Although asking an applicant pre-employment health questions will not in itself amount to discrimination against an applicant, acting on the answers could be construed as discriminatory. If an unsuccessful applicant brings a direct disability discrimination claim, and the employer asked a pre-employment health question for a non prescribed reason, it will be up to you as the employer to show that no discrimination took place.

It is advisable to remove any health related questions from your application forms, and should you have any concerns on any aspect of the Equality Act, please contact us on 0800 612 4772 or get a Free Quote for HR Services via our website

Remember, we offer services on a retained basis that help protect you from unwanted employment tribunal claims.


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