Mental Health at Work
October 10, 2017
driving
Do you have a Grey Fleet?
October 16, 2017
Show all

Pre-employment Health Questionnaires – What not to ask

health-questionnaire

Since the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, employers are not allowed to ask potential employees to complete pre-employment health questionnaires until after a job offer has been made, unless an exception applies. These questionnaires used to be a way for employers to uncover relevant facts about an applicant’s health circumstances before deciding whether or not to take them on, but now an employer could be opening themselves up to claims of discrimination should they use them and decide to act upon the information supplied.  It is also unlawful for an employer to ask for information from the applicant’s current or former employer, or to instruct an occupational health practitioner to ask questions in relation to health or disability on their behalf.

 

There are some exceptions:-

 

  • Where it is necessary to establish if the applicant will be able to comply with a requirement to undergo an assessment
  • When it is used to establish if reasonable adjustments are required for the recruitment process
  • To monitor the diversity of applicants
  • To take positive action
  • When it is necessary to establish if the applicant meets occupational requirements
  • When it is used to establish if the applicant will be able to carry out particular tasks that are vital to the role

 

Discrimination

 

The Protected Characteristics are listed as follows:-

 

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

 

What can employers do to avoid being accused of discrimination during the recruitment process?

 

  • Not request that applicants complete pre-employment questionnaires prior to a job offer being made, either unconditional or conditional
  • Keep any declarations regarding health and disability separate from other recruitment documents, ensuring that people responsible for shortlisting and appointing do not have access to it
  • Not entering into conversation with applicants should they voluntarily offer information in relation to their health or any disability they may have
  • Not cutting corners when looking at reasonable adjustments that could be made in order for a potential candidate to be able to perform the role in question

 

For further advice visit http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/8/a/Equality-Act-2010-guide-for-employers.pdf.

Suzie Bogle
Suzie Bogle
Owner of Breathing Space HR Ltd, HR Consultancy specialising in SME businesses. Creator of up&up - high flying HR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *