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Businesses recruiting for barmaids, paperboys or handymen could be prosecuted, says equality watchdog

Businesses looking to recruit a waitress, handyman, paperboy or barmaid could be breaking the law by advertising such positions, according to the Equality Rights Commission (EHRC).

The watchdog has issued new guidelines around the subject, advising business owners not to advertise for a candidate of a specific age, sex or nationality, if they want to avoid prosecution. 

The advice follows over 100 complaints made to the comission around job ads that were discriminatory, examples of which include age discrimination by a recruitment agency stating that anyone over the age of 45 "need not apply" for an open position and posts seeking "young" or female workers for the role of "part time shot girl". 

Even businesses using phrases such as "young and dynamic" and "recent graduate" are putting themselves at risk, according to the organisation.

The EHRC says “there are very limited circumstances” under the act when employers can exclude certain groups, and claims the new guidance, aimed at advertisers and publishers, will promote fairness and help companies comply with equality law.

Commenting on the move, Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the EHRC said: “We risk squandering talent and hampering economic growth if we don’t dispel widespread misunderstanding of the law."

"This clear and brief guidance answers the questions people often ask us and should help keep everybody on the right side of the law. It will also help ensure no-one is unfairly barred from job opportunities or from accessing services because of who they are. Tackling discrimination and ending confusion will not just help prevent businesses breaking the law – it will create more opportunities to unlock talent and help drive Britain's economic growth," she added.

Featured by The Drum