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Equality and Human Rights Commission research report on recruitment in Britain 11 November 2016
The EHRC has published a research report Examining employers’ practices and attitudes to employing UK-born and foreign-born workers.
The report looks at the results of research into employer and employee practices, perceptions and experiences of recruitment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) aim was to understand whether there was any evidence of different treatment between UK-born and foreign-born workers with a right to work in the UK, the extent of discrimination on the basis of nationality, and what may be causing it. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination on the grounds of nine ‘protected characteristics’ including race, which covers ethnicity and nationality. The Act makes it unlawful for employers and their agents to discriminate against people seeking employment: they must treat applicants fairly and not discriminate in any arrangements for making appointments.
The research focused on sectors with a high proportion of foreign-born workers and a mixture of skill levels:
Food manufacturing Accommodation (hotels, holiday and other short-stay accommodation, youth hostels and camping grounds) Food and beverage service activities (restaurants, mobile food service activities, pubs and bars) Social care Computer programming
Workplaces across these five sectors that have at least 10 staff account for 6% of all UK workplaces. Twelve per cent of the UK workforce is employed in these workplaces.
The research is based on a literature review on discriminatory recruitment practices and migrant workers in the UK, quantitative surveys of workplaces and recruitment agencies, and qualitative interviews with employers, recruitment agencies and both UK-born and foreign-born workers in the five sectors above. The research is based on employer and employee perceptions of treatment. This allows the EHRC to identify practices which may be discriminatory, whether this is done consciously or not; however only a tribunal can determine whether unlawful discrimination has occurred .
In most circumstances, employers appointed workers on their ability to do their job, rather than where they came from. There was a small number of examples of approaches by employers and recruitment agencies that may lead to potentially discriminatory recruitment practices.
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