Is your pharmacy discriminating when recruiting?

04 Sep 2018

The NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team can provide you with guidance.


Whether you like to admit it or not, we all have our own bias which can shape our recruitment decisions.

Bias is a problem for your pharmacy because it can mean you miss out on some fantastic talent, lead to a less diverse workforce and put you at risk of unlawful discrimination claims.

How could employers expose themselves to risk?

Under the Equality Act, employers cannot discriminate, either directly or indirectly, on the basis of any of the ‘protected characteristics’. These protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

This covers the recruitment process, so includes when drafting job adverts, sifting through CVs and the interview process itself.

Job adverts

When you draft job adverts, you need to take care when using gender-specific terms and refrain from using phrases such as ‘mature’ unless they are actual requirements for the job role. Otherwise you leave your pharmacy at risk of claims of sex or age discrimination. The NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team can provide you with guidance.

Sifting through CVs

Direct discrimination covers ‘discrimination by perception’. This occurs when where a person is treated less favourably because other people believe they have a protected characteristic, but in they do not.

For example, you pick up a CV and read the person’s name. You reject them (a white female) because you think she was Black because of her African-sounding name.

Interview process

It’s useful to ask the same set of questions to all candidates to probe into their education, experience, skills set, knowledge, etc. This makes the process as fair and objective as possible. It should also help you to recruit the best qualified person for the role.

It’s also important to refrain from asking any questions that imply you discriminate against people based on the protected characteristics such as their age, disability, marital status, race, religion or sex.

If they provide information without you asking, you should not allow the information to influence your decision.

To discuss this further, contact the NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team on 0330 123 0558 or