Recruitment and designated roles
Applying for a new job is daunting enough. It should not be made harder because a workplace has discriminatory hiring practices. Employers have a legal responsibility to avoid discrimination when recruiting workers. Positions should be filled by those who are best suited for the job regardless of their background and personal characteristics. Sometimes employers can take positive steps to help disadvantaged groups by creating designated roles.
Avoiding discrimination in recruitment
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that each stage of the hiring process is non-discriminatory. The hiring process includes:
- advertising the position
- conducting interviews and pre-employment tests
- selecting the preferred candidate.
The application process should be open and accessible, and not present barriers that could discourage people from applying. Employers may also need to consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace to support a person with a disability.
What does a non-discriminatory hiring process look like?
Special measures and designated roles
Employers can take positive steps to help disadvantaged groups. These are called ‘special measures’. The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 makes it clear that special measures are allowed and are not discrimination. Read more about special measures.
Designated roles are a type of special measure. A designated role is where an employer specifies that a role is to be given to a person with a particular characteristic.
Designated roles are designed to help eliminate inequalities for groups that may experience significant disadvantage when it comes to employment, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities and women.
For example, a company with a very little Aboriginal representation among its employees decides to advertise for and employ Aboriginal people to help address this diversity issue.