Businesses should avoid using gender-specific titles which imply that a job can be done by men or women only, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned.
The EHRC said it had received over 100 complaints about discriminatory adverts including a bar looking for a ‘part-time shot girl’ and those seeking ‘young’ or ‘female’ workers when this was not a necessary requirement for the job.
There was also a complaint over a hotel advertising that it would not offer accommodation to disabled people.
Companies should instead use ‘neutral’ job titles such as ‘bartender’ to avoid excluding qualified applicants, the EHRC said.
The Commission warned that many businesses were breaching equality laws – often without realising it - and has published a series of guides to help.
Restaurants, hotels and pubs were warned that ‘Ladies Night’ adverts offering women free entry could be illegal as they gave preferential treatment to a particular group.
The watchdog said that using words such as ‘young’ or ‘mature’ in job adverts could breach age discrimination law. Requesting physical characteristics such as height could also be illegal as it excluded women and disabled people from applying.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “It is important that everyone has a fair shot at the job they want. Thousands of people may be losing out through misunderstanding and discrimination.
“We risk squandering talent and hampering economic growth if we don’t dispel widespread misunderstanding of the law. The high volume of complaints we receive each year shows employers and service providers have sometimes opened themselves to potentially costly legal action.”
The Laundrette restaurant in Manchester faced backlash from Facebook users in January after it listed 'plenty of attractive floor staff to flirt with' as a perk of the job in an advert for a chef position.
The restaurant later edited the advert but said that it had been posted 'with a sense of humour' after its owners had struggled to recruit chefs of any gender.
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