Hiring a new member of staff can help you run and build your business, but it also brings additional responsibilities. If you already employ staff or are taking on an employee for the first time, it is important to understand your legal obligations as an employer. This factsheet explains the steps involved in taking on an employee and outlines the main legal responsibilities of employers.

See also: Health and safety guidelines for rural businesses

Avoiding discrimination

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must not discriminate against job applicants on any of the following grounds, known as 'protected characteristics':

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Being married or in a civil partnership
  • Being pregnant or having a child
  • Disability
  • Religion or lack of religion
  • Transsexuality
  • Sexual orientation

In general, you must not ask applicants questions about protected characteristics during the recruitment process.

For more information about employers' responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, click here.

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