Job Descriptions

Use an appropriate job title. Job titles should not show a predetermined bias for the recruitment of those with a particular characteristic (for example, “shop girl” suggests it has been predetermined to recruit a younger woman, and “office boy” suggests an intention to recruit a younger man).

Accurately describe the job. The specific duties and responsibilities of the post, that the successful candidate would be expected to routinely carry out should be described so that applicants have a clear picture of what the job entails.

There should be sufficient information to enable an applicant to make an informed decision about whether to apply.

Including tasks or duties that, in practice, are not performed may not only put off appropriately qualified people from applying but may result in a discrimination claim if such people believe they have unfairly been denied the opportunity to apply.

Focus on outcomes. Where there are different ways of performing a task, rather than specifying how the task should be performed, the job description should state what outcome needs to be achieved.

Avoid specifying unnecessary working patterns. If a job could be done either part-time, full-time, or through job share arrangements, this should be stated in the job description. As well as avoiding discrimination, this approach is likely to widen the pool of potential applicants.


A job description includes the duty: “regular Sunday working”. In reality, there is only an occasional need to work on a Sunday. This overstated duty written into the job description puts off Christians who do not wish to work on a Sunday, and so could amount to indirect discrimination unless the requirement can be objectively justified.

A job description includes the task: “Using MagicReport software to produce reports about customer complaints”. This particular software is not accessible to some disabled people who use voice-activated software. Discrimination could be avoided by describing the task as “Producing reports about customer complaints”.

A job description for a manager states that the job is full-time. The employer has stated this because all managers are currently full-time and has not considered whether this is an actual requirement for the role. The requirement to work full-time could put women at a disadvantage compared with men because more women than men work part-time or job share in order to accommodate childcare responsibilities. This requirement could amount to indirect discrimination unless it can be objectively justified.