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6.8 Sex/Gender

Tips on Avoiding Discrimination under the Equality Act (2010) for Sex/Gender:

  • A requirement for continuous experience could indirectly discriminate against women who have taken time out from work for reasons relating to maternity or childcare, unless the requirement can be objectively justified.

  • A School/Unit decides to reject applications from anyone who has had a career break. This would have a worse impact on some people who share a particular protected characteristic, such as women, who are more likely to have taken a break to have a family.  Unless the School/Unit can objectively justify the requirement for the successful applicant not to have had a career break, this is likely to be unlawful indirect discrimination.

Suggested Alternative Interview Questions:

Sex/Gender + Carers Discriminatory Questions: Suggested Alternative (if vital to ask as part of the requirements of the job): 

“Who would look after your children if your manager asked you to work late at short notice?”

“About once per month, the demands of the job might require you to work up to one hour later than normal at short notice.  How would you respond if asked to do this?”

“How would your husband/wife feel if your job meant you had to travel away on University business twice a month?”

“The job requires travelling away on University business twice a month.  Can you tell me the extent to which you would be able to comply with that essential requirement as part of your job?”

“Are you and your husband planning to have children in the next few years?”

“What are your career aims over the next three to five years?”

“How do you feel you would be able to fit into an all-male/female team?”

“Describe your experiences of working as a member of a team.” Note that applicants are able to be provided with a tour of the working environment and meet with colleagues during the process.


Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096