When recruiting for jobs, is it acceptable to include as a selection criterion the standard of English required in that job, providing you can justify the standard, just as you would any other skill. For instance, for cleaning posts, the standard might be basic, for some admin posts the standard could be conversational, and for mainly customer facing roles, fluent? The standard of both written and oral English could be specified?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 4 May 2010
Emma-Jane Flannery
Arthur Cox

The answer to this question is very likely to be yes. By way of background, the risk in carrying out a recruitment exercise is that an unsuccessful applicant will allege that he or she was unlawfully discriminated against during the recruitment process.

In this case, the risk is that an applicant could bring an indirect race discrimination claim. While the regime of indirect discrimination is fairly complex, it is likely that that the applicant's claim would be on the basis that employer, in using the standard of English as a selection criterion, has adopted a "requirement or condition"

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 22/10/2015
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Emma-Jane Flannery
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Emma-Jane Flannery. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email Emma-Jane.Flannery@arthurcox.com

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