When you get a job, you probably know that the law gives you all sorts of rights, but did you know that you have some rights as soon as you apply for a job?
When an employer invites us to interview, we already have rights. Whether this is face-to-face or using a video system like Zoom, they might also ask if we need any “adjustments”. This is good practice as it means they want to make the interview as easy to access as possible. Some people might worry if this could affect whether they offer us the job but the law should protect us.
The kinds of things we might ask for could be for the interview to be in a well-lit room if we are hard of hearing and need to lipread. Or we might ask for the interview to be on the ground floor if there is no lift and we cannot manage stairs. We are also entitled to ask for things like a job description in large print, if we need it.
There are things that should not affect a boss’s decision to offer us work and the law is in place to protect us. This could be around a disability or illness. It could be because we’re male or female. It might be down to our race, a prison record or a number of other things that it could be illegal to take into account. (We’ll come back to these issues at the end.)
So what can we do if we get turned down for a job and suspect the employer has been biased against us? The first thing is to ask for feedback. Employers are not obliged to give feedback but many will. If they can’t or won’t provide a fair reason for the rejection, call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100*. Acas is government-funded and was set up to give free advice on workplace rights. We will be able to speak to an advisor who will talk through the options.
* The helpline is open from 8am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. If we need someone to interpret, we can ask someone to ask on our behalf. People with hearing or speech difficulties can contact them using Relay UK on 18001 0300 123 1100.
There are some frequently asked questions on issues that employers should not do at interview. Click the links below to read on: