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Browse frequently asked questions and answers on key HR issues. Navigate by topic or key word search. View latest additions or suggest a question to the XpertHR editorial team.
How can an employer ensure that its application forms are not discriminatory?
How can an employer ensure that line managers draw up a shortlist for a position without unlawfully discriminating against applicants?
Is there a legal requirement for employers to advertise every job vacancy that arises?
If a job candidate is unable to attend an interview on the date or at the time proposed by the employer, is the employer obliged to rearrange the interview to suit the candidate's requirements?
Can an employer be held liable if an unsuccessful applicant provides evidence that he or she may have been discriminated against during an interview?
What questions should an employer avoid asking candidates at interview?
Where a full-time position is advertised, is the employer required to consider an applicant who informs it at interview that she would like to work part time?
Does an unsuccessful job applicant require concrete evidence to prove that he or she was discriminated against?
Can an employer reject an applicant for a maternity leave cover role on the basis that the applicant is herself pregnant and will not be able to work for the full cover period?
Are employers under an obligation to provide breastfeeding facilities for nursing mothers?
Are employers obliged to accommodate requests for lengthy breaks several times a day for the purpose of expressing milk?
Can employers require all employees to wear a uniform?
Can an employer have a dress code requiring female employees to wear a skirt?
Can an employer have a policy that requires male employees to keep their hair short?
Can an employer have a policy that prohibits male employees from wearing earrings?
Some employers choose to include restrictions on the wearing of jewellery as part of their dress code but these restrictions may lead to complaints of discrimination. In Eweida and others v United Kingdom  IRLR 231 ECHR, the employer’s policy allowed employees to wear religious jewellery only if it was worn under the uniform. The claimant was instructed to remove a cross that she refused to conceal. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held that the claimant's right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under art.9 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached because a fair balance had not been struck between her desire to manifest her religious beliefs and the employer's wish to project a certain corporate image. There was no real evidence that wearing such jewellery would negatively affect the employer's image or brand.
Employers should consider whether or not there is a legitimate reason behind a ban on jewellery. Where a ban on jewellery does amount to indirect discrimination, employers may be able to justify the policy if the wearing of jewellery might constitute a health and safety risk, such as where employees are operating potentially dangerous machinery.
A dress code that distinguishes between the sexes as to what jewellery may be worn in the workplace might also constitute sex discrimination. In Jarman v The Link Stores Ltd  ET/2505091/03, a male employee was disciplined for refusing to remove his earring and successfully argued that this amounted to sex discrimination.
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