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Recruitment advice: Ten discriminatory selection practices you must avoid

by , 08 June 2015
Keep in mind that having access to information during the recruitment process means job candidates can bring you to the Court if you discriminate against them. There are many ways employers can do this and while in some cases this happens because they aren't aware they're doing it, knowing the legislation is YOUR responsibility!

The ten examples below show you what practices are deemed discriminatory and unacceptable in the recruiting process:

Note that you can't turn down an applicant for subjective reasons.

This means that if you don't pay attention to it, a judge could find you guilty of unfair discrimination on any one of these ten grounds!

1. Race
Let's say one of your managers turns down an applicant for a Sales Director because he's black. He hires one of his white friends instead at a salary of R60 000 a month. The black applicant takes the dispute to the Labour Court. He presents proof that your company unfairly discriminated against him. The Court orders you to hire him as Sales Director at the same salary as your manager's friend. The court order was made three years after the manager discriminated unfairly. You now face the issue of keeping two Sales Directors at R60 000 a month, or retrenching your manager's friend.

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2. Gender
Keep in mind that it's discrimination if you turn down a woman for a job as a mechanic because 'it's a man's job".

3. Political opinion
If, for example, you're an ANC supporter, you can't discriminate against someone who supports a different party.

4. Trade union affiliation
This means that you can't refuse a person a job because he belongs to a union or says he wants to join a union.

5. Religion
If, for example, a Jewish person applies for a job, you can't hire him on condition that he works on Jewish holidays.

6. Pregnancy
Unless you can prove job continuity's an essential part of the job, you can't turn someone down just because she's pregnant.

Note: The courts don't give guidelines which jobs inherently require continuity. They deal with each case depending on the level of responsibility in the job and the speed that a stand-in could learn the ropes of the job. Clearly, the job of typist doesn't need continuity, but some managerial positions would.

7. Marital status
If, for example, you prefer to hire single women because you think they're more loyal than married women, you're guilty of discrimination.

8. Family responsibility
Discriminating against a candidate because he has family obligations is unfair. In the screening process, don't ask about the applicant's family responsibility. Focus on if he can do the job.

9. Ethnic or social origin
You can't discriminate against an applicant because of his tribal background, country of origin or socioeconomic status.

10.Sexual orientation
You may not discriminate against an applicant for being homosexual or heterosexual.

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