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When are job candidates really equal?

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Following the announcement of the new Equalities Bill by Equality Minister Harriet Harman, amongst other reforms businesses will be allowed to "positively discriminate" in favour of female and ethnic minority job candidates if they are equal to their rivals in every other respect. But a local solicitor is concerned that employers may find it hard to decide when candidates really are equal. "In many people's view, it is about much more than exam results or work experience," says Alexandra Dean of Gepp & Sons in Chelmsford, Essex. "Intangible factors like personal chemistry also count, which are very hard to quantify in fixed terms." This is set to become an important issue, with the possibility that unsuccessful candidates may take action against employers who rejected them. "Businesses may need to defend their employment decisions, meaning they will need to take extra care in defining why they chose one candidate over another," Alex Dean continues. "It will make it even more important that they have formal employment policies and procedures in place to help them explain why they reached a decision. "Anyone who needs advice on formulating such documentation, or who wants an explanation of what the proposed new legislation will mean for their business, is very welcome to talk to our employment law specialists. Just call 01245 228141 and we will arrange an initial meeting." Notes to Editors: * For additional information or comment please contact: Alexandra Dean of Gepp & Sons on 01245 228141