Posted on 16th January 2007

Employers Could Dance Into Trouble at Job Interviews

Nick Poole, partner at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks, is warning local employers who are considering following in the footsteps of BQ and introducing bizarre interview techniques that they could fall foul of the new age discrimination laws. As recently reported, job applicants at BQ have been asked to perform dance routines, with several jobseekers dancing to the Jackson Five tune Blame It On The Boogie at their interview! Nick said: This could be seen as a creative and innovative way of selecting suitable candidates for a job and ascertaining if potential employees will fit into the companys culture. However, the reverse side is that, in addition to applicants feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable by the request, it could contravene the age discrimination laws. Its quite possible that both younger and older applicants could feel undermined by being asked to dance. It might be argued that older, more mature people would be much more willing to partake in an exercise like this, while younger, more image conscious people would be horrified at performing in front of an interview panel. The exact opposite of this could also be the case as an older person might be shocked at the thought of having to dance at a job interview. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, came into force on 1 October 2006, and prohibit direct and indirect age discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Nick said: The regulations prohibit questions such as 'how would you feel about managing older/younger people?' or 'do you think you are mature enough to take on this level of responsibility?' which could be perceived to be discriminatory. They are in place to ensure that employers do not allow differences in age to make a difference when deciding who the most suitable candidate for a job is. Whether or not a successful case could be brought for discrimination if you are asked to sing or perform dance routines at your job interview remains to be seen. However, it is open to interpretation and what may begin as a light-hearted task could end up in a tribunal.