BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Workplace rights Data with destiny.

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Workplace rights Data with destiny. - Recruiting staff can be tricky, but at least employers have freedom of choice. Providing they don't discriminate on grounds of race, sex or disability, their decision will

by MICHAEL BURD and JAMES DAVIES, Lewis Silkin solicitors, e-mail:iemloyment@lewissilkin.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Recruiting staff can be tricky, but at least employers have freedom of choice. Providing they don't discriminate on grounds of race, sex or disability, their decision will not be open to legal challenge. So if a candidate turns up with ideal qualifications for the job, you can still reject her on largely subjective grounds - she gets on your nerves, picks her nose, supports the wrong football team. Can't you?

Well, maybe not. Data-protection legislation requires employers to process data fairly and lawfully - including CVs, application forms and so on.

According to a new draft code of practice, an 'unfair' recruitment decision involving the use of data could give rise to a claim for compensation.

And the principles apply to decisions affecting employees already on the payroll, such as promotion or dismissal. Thus employees with less than one year's service might have the right to claim unfair dismissal by the back door.

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