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Less pre job offer health questions

10 December 2013

Discriminatory health questions in recruitment reduce.

Disability Rights UK campaigned successfully to outlaw pre-job offer health questions – which were a licence to discriminate (for instance ‘have you ever experienced mental illness’ being used to screen candidates out).

The Equality Act 2010 made it unlawful to ask pre-job offer health questions, with rare exceptions. Some companies, like BT, had already recognised that these questions told the employer nothing about how effective the person would be in their job. 

New research published in Occupational Health at Work shows that since the Act came into force, the proportion of employers asking pre job offer health questions has plummeted.

Liz Sayce said ‘Asking people health questions as part of the recruitment process is a waste of time and money, a licence to discriminate, and thankfully now illegal. The law was changed thanks to effective joint campaigning by disability organisations, particularly those representing the interests of people with non-visible impairments: like Rethink, National Aids Trust and Macmillan – working with Disability Rights UK. This shows that by working together we can achieve change. Other forms of discrimination in employment are however persistent and we urge the Equality and Human Rights Commission to use its legal powers to challenge it strongly and strategically’.