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2.2 Inclusive Person Specifications

Discrimination could be avoided in Person Specifications by ensuring that any necessary or desirable criteria can be justified for that particular job, and being mindful when using the following terms:
Using "Experience":
Asking for ‘so many years’ experience could amount to indirect discrimination because of age unless this provision can be objectively justified.
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.
Using "Active/energetic":
Could be discriminatory against some disabled people who may be less mobile if the job when the job is a sedentary one is an irrelevant criterion.
Using "Knowledge, qualifications, skills":
Ensure that criteria relating to skills or knowledge are not unnecessarily restrictive in specifying particular qualifications that are necessary or desirable. 

Make reference to ‘equivalent qualifications’ or to ‘equivalent levels of skill or knowledge’ in order to avoid indirect discrimination – good practice would be to avoid specifying qualifications that were not available a generation ago, such as GCSEs, without stating that equivalent qualifications are also acceptable.

Example 1:

Requiring a UK-based qualification, when equivalent qualifications obtained abroad would also meet the requirement for that particular level of knowledge or skill, may lead to indirect discrimination because of race, if the requirement cannot be objectively justified.

Example 2:

An employer uses a person specification for an accountant’s post that states ‘employees must be confident in dealing with external clients’ when in fact the job in question does not involve liaising directly with external clients.  This requirement is unnecessary and could lead to discrimination against disabled people who have difficulty interacting with others, such as some people with autism.



Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096