Don’t Discriminate Illegally against Applicants!

Those of you who read the Cherington HR newsletter regularly may remember the case of a transgender woman who was awarded £47.5k for discriminatory behaviour by Primark employees a couple of years ago. (See This time it was Debenhams who parted with £9k to settle a discrimination case brought by another transgender woman, who was told in an anonymous email that her job application had been rejected because of her gender identity.

Ms Ava Moore had applied for a job as a temporary sales assistant for Christmas 2018. She was invited to an interview which she claimed went well, but a few days later she received an anonymous message that alleged that her application had been unsuccessful because she was transgender.

Ms Moore said that she was really disappointed that she hadn’t been offered the job despite what she thought had been a good interview and a test involving interacting with customers on the sales floor. However, during the course of the interview she reported feeling a change in the atmosphere after she had provided her birth certificate which disclosed her gender history and the fact that she is a transgender woman.

A Debenhams spokesperson said: “We have agreed a settlement on the basis of no liability on the part of Debenhams. We are an equal opportunities employer committed to promoting equality and diversity within the business and throughout the sector. Decisions on recruitment, training, promotion and employment conditions are based solely on personal competence and performance.”

This was the case of a person who had not even started work for the company, so the moral of this tale, is make your recruiting decisions on the basis of appointing individuals who do well at the interview and selection tests – not on the basis of any other personal characteristics or you could find yourself out of pocket!
Posted on 21 Jan 2020
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