Legal Article - Employment Law

Promotion, Transfer and Training

The issue of discrimination is relevant to all aspects of employment and employers need to be mindful of the area particularly when electing members of staff for promotion, transfer or training.

It is essential for employers to meet certain criteria to dispel issues and complaints of discrimination in any of its forms. 

a) Where an appraisal system is in operation, the assessment criteria should be examined to ensure that they are not unlawfully discriminatory and the scheme monitored to assess how it is working in practice;

b) When a group of workers predominantly of one sex is excluded from a staff appraisal scheme, access to promotion, transfer and training and to other benefits criteria should be reviewed, to ensure that there is no unlawful indirect discrimination;

c) Promotion and career development patterns are reviewed to ensure that the traditional qualifications are justifiable requirements for the job to be done. In some circumstances, for example, promotion on the basis of length of service could amount to unlawful indirect discrimination, as it may unjustifiably affect more women than men;

d) When general ability and personal qualities are the main requirements for promotion to a post, care should be taken to consider favourably candidates of both sexes with differing career patterns and general experience;

e) Rules which restrict or preclude transfer between certain jobs should be questioned and changed, if they are found to be unlawfully discriminatory. Employees of one sex may be concentrated in sections from which transfers are traditionally restricted without real justification;

f) Policies and practices regarding selection for training, day release and personal development should be examined for unlawful direct and indirect discrimination. Where there is found to be an imbalance in training as between sexes, the cause should be identified to ensure that it is not discriminatory;

g) Age limits for access to training and promotion should be questioned.

Published: 25 May 2011

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