Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Pre Employment health questionnaires and what not to ask

Changes brought in by the Equality Act 2010 introduced on 1 October mean that employers are now going to have to be far more careful about asking job applicants questions about their health.

The main points to be aware of are:

• With only some exceptions, an employer must avoid asking about a job applicant’s health until that person has either been offered a job or placed in a ‘pool’ of successful candidates.

• However, employers are allowed to ask very specific questions to determine if the candidate is physically able to carry out tasks that are essential to the post in question.

• Although the legislation does not outlaw asking health-related questions, acting on an applicant’s responses to unnecesary questions may be discriminatory.

• Employers may ask health questions to determine whether candidates will be able to undergo an assessment or if any ‘reasonable adjustments’ need to be made.

• Employers may also ask questions aimed at monitoring diversity or improving disabled people’s employment rates.

Below are a few examples of the type of questions that should be avoided

• How many sick days have you had in the past year etc.?
• Have you suffered from any illness or accident in the past 3 years etc.?
• Do you suffer from depression, panic attacks or stress related illness etc.?
• Are you in receipt of an ill-health pension, or have you been compensated for a previous industrial injury?
• Any questions relating to the health of mother, father, grandparents, etc.
• Any other questions that are of the type; “have you ever suffered from…….”

If you have any concerns about health questionnaires or your recruitment process then please contact Martin Williams on 01273 775533 or email at

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Mayo Wynne Baxter Support Sussex Achievers

Last Sunday a contingent from Mayo Wynne Baxter were proud to be amongst the 700 invited guests at the ninth annual Argus Achievement Awards hosted by Nick Owen.

The heart-warming ceremony at the Theatre Royal Brighton gave the unsung yet deserving heroes of Sussex their moment in the spotlight.

The awards saw more individuals recognised than ever before with 18 different award categories looking for the finest of our emergency services, schools, businesses and residents.

All of the record 180 inspiring entries for the awards had been nominated by members of the public before a judging panel of Argus staff and sponsors had the almost impossible task of trying to pick a shortlist of three and an overall winner in each category.

Mayo Wynne Baxter were pleased to be able to sponsor an award for the Contribution to Arts & Culture which was won by a deserving Robyn Steer (centre) and our Managing Partner, Chris Randall (right), was on hand to present the award.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Equal Pay – not just a local government thing

In 2008-09 there were some 37,400 equal pay claims made to Employment Tribunals in Great Britain. Of these, only 200 claims were successful at the Tribunal stage. While this could suggest that an equal pay claim is unlikely to succeed defending a claim can be a time consuming and costly business. Employers of men and women doing equal work but on unequal pay need to be able to demonstrate that any differences in pay are not related to the sex of the job holders and that the different rates of pay can be justified. This is not a straightforward process.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has set up a quick-start guide designed for small and medium-sized businesses to make it easier for them to examine their pay systems to help ensure that they comply with equal pay legislation. The guide provides helpful information on how small businesses can compare pay structures for different types of work carried out by male and female workers and what can be done if pay differences are discovered.

To look at the guide visit the EHRC website by using the following link.Click here.

If you find that you are in need of advice about equal pay please contact our Head of Employment, Martin Williams on 01273 223263 or email