There is a fine line that business owners must not lose sight of in their recruitment. The Alberta Human Rights Act has clear guidelines, and non-compliance might lead to accusations of discrimination. Advertisements and job descriptions may not indicate that selection will be based on specific grounds. The prohibited grounds include religion, race, gender, colour, mental or physical disability, ancestry, age, place of origin, sexual orientation, family and marital status, and income source.
None of the mentioned grounds may be specified in advertisements or circulated material related to employee recruitment. Furthermore, inquiries and interviews may not include questions related to the prohibited grounds. Also, employers may not expect job applicants to provide any information about the protected grounds related to applicants or anyone else.
Advertisements or applications may not be worded or include preferences or restrictions that might discourage someone from applying for any job vacancy. However, as with most laws, exceptions exist. The employer may include requirements from the protected grounds if such conditions can be demonstrated to justify a bona fide requirement for a specific position. Such exceptions are described in Section 8(1) of the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Business owners in Alberta who want to avoid accusations of discrimination in their recruitment advertisements could retain the services of a lawyer with experience in all aspects of employment and Human Rights laws. Being proactive and seeking legal counsel before placing an ad might be wise. However, a skilled lawyer can advocate for employers who are facing allegations of discrimination throughout ensuing legal proceedings or mediation.