A Ponsonby bar that posted an online advertisement for “female bar & floor staff” has come under fire for sexist and discriminatory practices.

Gender specific job adverts are likely to breach human rights legislation as these types of adverts are seen as discrimination based on gender.

These kinds of advertisements can be costly for employers, and employers should be aware that some legal obligations arise pre-employment.

The Human Rights Commission receives and investigates complaints of discrimination. When a complaint is progressed to the Human Rights Tribunal, the Tribunal may determine a practice is unlawful and can award compensatory damages.

A common example of another pre-employment human rights blunder is the inappropriate interview question.

We suggest employers replace risky or inappropriate questions with work-based questions during a job interview. Instead of asking “Are you pregnant?”, say something like, “This job is for a full time project across the next 24 months, are you able to commit to that?”

Not only will a more appropriate question avoid accusations of discrimination, appropriate questions also help potential employees allay any concerns you may have.

Remember that assumptions are often incorrect. For example, you might assume a disability would prevent someone from completing assigned tasks, but that person may have relevant work experience proving their capability. Ask about relevant work experiences (and not their disability), and they will be able to tell you what they are capable of. You will then be able to hire the best person for the job.

The same logic applies to job advertisements. While the bar in question may have assumed its patronage preferred female servers, a male server with a winning personality may have in fact been the best fit.