Shiny Happy People

Does an advert asking for happy people lead to discrimination?
Everyone has an opinion on this case from Piers Morgan to the DLP Team itself!

FACTS OF THE CASE

A salon owner put out a job advert asking for “happy people” to apply within. The Department for Work and Pensions who operate the job centre where this was advertised told the owner to change ‘happy people’ as it could offend people who were not happy and of course generated the media frenzy.

DISCRIMINATION

On a serious note, we need to consider whether asking for “happy people” could lead to discrimination. Remember, discrimination is the act of treating someone unfairly due to a protected characteristic, these include; Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Firstly, being an “unhappy person” is not a protected characteristic. However, could this extend to those who are protected under the Equality Act 2010?, could you be actively and expressly stating that you would not consider an application from someone who suffers with depression or anxiety, could such an advert be confirming that the employer does not want to accept applications from groups protected? Of course, a case such as this would have to be considered in a tribunal to get a definitive answer.

Our advice would be to refrain from using such a phrase in a job advert to ensure you are fully protected from any potential claim.

The DLP team are eager to know what you think of this case and ask you the following question;

Q) DO YOU BELIEVE THAT RECRUITING “HAPPY PEOPLE” COULD BE DISCRIMINATORY?

Please send your answer to compliance@dlp.org.uk with the subject “Happy People” with either yes or no and a comment if you like. We promise all entries will be treated anonymously.

As always, if you are unsure of any wording in any HR process that you are planning then please seek advice from your dedicated DLP advisor and prevent yourself from having to explain a poor choice of words to Piers and Suzanna!