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Groundbreaking Step to Prohibit the use of Pre-Employment Health Questionnaires

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New legislation looks set to remove a significant barrier in recruitment for HIV positive people by outlawing the use of pre-employment health questionnaires

NAT (National AIDS Trust) are today celebrating a significant step forward towards the end to discrimination in recruitment for people living with HIV. Last night saw the introduction to the Equality Bill of a ground breaking clause that received cross party support and will for the first time see the prohibition of health questionnaires prior to an offer of employment. 

Until now, employers have been able to ask job applicants whether they have a disability, are taking medication or have a medical condition – even if it has no relevance to the role. NAT has worked with politicians from all parties to secure this outcome, playing a key role in the campaign to prohibit the use of these questionnaires that have enabled less scrupulous employers to filter out applicants with a disability or long term health condition.
 
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:
 
“We are delighted that the Government has listened to NAT’s concerns and that the Equality Bill will prohibit the use of pre-employment health questionnaires, bringing the UK into line with international best practice around recruitment and disability.
 
Many employers do not realise that someone living with HIV can have an active career and be an asset to their organisation – even if they are the best candidate for the job, people are turned down because employers makes incorrect assumptions about their health.  In a difficult economic climate and with a reformed benefits system it is more important than ever to remove the discrimination which prevents so many HIV positive people from entering paid employment.  In the past, irrelevant and intrusive questions have deterred people from applying for jobs and provided opportunities for unfairness and prejudice, we are therefore today celebrating the Bill’s prohibition of questionnaires that will remove one of the key barriers to disabled people entering the workplace.”

 
NAT are now calling on the Government to make sure this Bill reaches the statute books before an election is called, so that these new measures prohibiting the use of health questionnaires become a reality for people living with HIV.


Notes to the editor:

1 – The Equality Bill debate in the Lords on pre-employment health care questionnaires can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/text/100119-0...

2 – NAT worked with Rethink and THT on this issue. Our joint submission to the Work and Pensions Committee on the issue of pre-employment questionnaire is available at:http://www.nat.org.uk/Our-campaigns/Law-stigma-and-discrimination/Human-...
 

For further information please contact:

Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
NAT
020 7814 6733
press@nat.org.uk
 
NAT
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.nat.org.uk