Be careful about the content of the job advertisement - you can be discriminating!

Service Business

There is a message encoded in the collective consciousness of people that discrimination is not considered politically correct. Entrepreneurs, managers and HR specialists are also aware of this, and therefore companies place great emphasis on preventing any manifestations of people differentiation for reasons other than justified - such as experience or competences. However, not everyone knows that a job advertisement can be discriminatory - even if it contains seemingly innocent words or phrases.

Equal treatment is the responsibility of the employer

The need to treat their employees equally, as well as to ensure that the company does not show any signs of discrimination, does not only result from morality or work ethics. Ensuring equal rights for all employees is one of the obligations of the employer, imposed on him by the provisions of the Labor Code.

Pursuant to Art. 18 (3a) par.1 employees should be treated equally when entering into and terminating an employment relationship, as well as in terms of employment conditions, promotion and access to training to improve professional qualifications. The code indicates that differentiation is not allowed mainly due to:

  • sex,

  • age,

  • disability,

  • race, nationality, ethnicity,

  • religion, denomination,

  • political beliefs, trade union membership,

  • sexual orientation,

  • form of employment - fixed-term or indefinite, full-time or part-time work.

Differentiating anyone in an unjustified way (i.e. not due to differences in experience or competences), in particular due to the above features, is treated as discrimination. The Labor Code distinguishes two basic types.

Direct discrimination occurs when an employee for one or several of the reasons indicated above is or could be treated in a comparable situation less favorably than other employees - such a definition is presented in par. 3 of the previously mentioned recipe. Indirect discrimination, on the other hand, is a situation where seemingly neutral provisions, criteria or actions taken will cause or may result in unfavorable disproportions or a particularly unfavorable situation for all or a significant number of employees belonging to a given group. The exception is when a provision, criterion or action is objectively justified by a lawful purpose.

Sounds dangerous? Yes, discrimination is a relatively sensitive topic, and employers are doing everything they can to avoid such accusations. And yet it does happen - and at the very first stage of recruitment, employers break the law, unconsciously and completely without such intention. As? When preparing recruitment advertisements.

Not a roofer and not an assistant - how NOT to write advertisements

Taking into account the above-mentioned assumptions of the Labor Code, it turns out that writing a recruitment advertisement is not that easy. However, it is easy to break the principles of non-discrimination and equal treatment.

How? Even through the title itself. Admittedly, it seems obvious to employ a man as a truck driver and a woman as a kindergarten teacher - and this is indeed the case in most cases. However, the terms "I am looking for an excavator operator" or "I am employing a kindergarten teacher" discriminate against people - on the basis of gender. Therefore, in advertisements where word variation is possible, both forms are often used - for example, "I am hiring an accountant". If this is not possible, it is worth considering a differently structured sentence - eg "Working while driving a truck" or "Position of a guardian / babysitter in a kindergarten". A small change that seems to be an exaggeration, however, protects the employer against possible negative consequences.

It is similar with age - in some positions, employers see rather a young employee at the beginning of their career, who can be learned everything, in others they would prefer a mature person with extensive experience and knowledge of the subject. Meanwhile, entering in the advertisement not only a certain age, but even a range (e.g. 25-30 years), constitutes discrimination. Some specialists suggest in this situation to indicate that they are building a "dynamic, resilient, young team", but others disqualify such adjectives as limiting certain age groups. In this situation, it is difficult to say which terms may be considered discriminatory due to the PESEL number of candidates.

Interestingly, the requirements themselves can also be problematic. At this point, it is impossible to clearly define what necessary competences are meant, because it depends on the specific job position. It is obvious that a category B driving license will be necessary when a taxi driver is sought, but it raises doubts when such a requirement is indicated in the advertisement for a job for a teacher. Similarly with the knowledge of languages ​​- even if mastering English seems to be the standard nowadays, it cannot be required when recruiting for a roofer with a workplace in Poland. This is a slightly more justified requirement in recruiting for the position of an assistant (or assistant), and of course necessary when we are looking for a teacher for a language school.

Additional information about the candidate may also raise doubts - not only during the formulation of the advertisement, but also during further stages, such as an interview. Therefore, questions about marital status, plans to expand the family or already owned children are usually unjustified. It is similar with a clean criminal record - apart from certain positions where being punished excludes a potential candidate (e.g. a judge), it is not possible to ask such a question without risking negative consequences.

CV only without photo!

Sending a resume with photos is now standard. When browsing through the guides for applicants, it can be assumed that a CV without a photo is unlikely to be taken into account.

This topic is not very clear-cut. Of course, it shouldn't be that a CV without a photo will end up in the bin immediately. On the other hand, one should not overdo it the other way and get rid of all the CVs that come with a photograph, fearing accusations of discrimination on the basis of appearance. What is certain, however - if you do not own a modeling agency, requesting a “CV with a photo” in the recruitment advertisement exposes the recruiter to negative consequences and accusations of discrimination.

Therefore, creating a job advertisement is not as easy as it may seem. It is worth paying special attention to the fact that the requirements and wording contained therein are as neutral as possible and do not discriminate against anyone.