Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
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Date Published:05 Oct 2017 Last Updated:25 Nov 2021

Can an employer ask about your sexuality?

LGBT+ Legal Advice

An employer is not expressly prohibited from asking about a potential employee’s sexuality. The question of sexuality can be a really positive one at interview stage, but only if the employer is asking the question for the right reasons. In fact some studies have shown that not asking about sexuality in monitoring forms is actually a repellent to some candidates. Including sexual orientation in a monitoring form shows that the organisation has sexuality on their radar for positive reasons. The question should only ever be asked in order that the employer can monitor and ensure equality, and employer should have clear and
defined confidentiality and data protection policies in place to protect this information.

On the other hand, it is without doubt that an employer should not be using a person’s sexuality as a criterion to decide whether they are the correct candidate. To do so would be unlawful and in breach of discrimination legislation. An example of this is: Mr H applied to run Mr B’s pub. Mr B asked Mr H if he had a wife or girlfriend, when Mr H disclosed that he was gay, Mr B stated that there was “no way” he would employ a gay couple as it would be disastrous for his business. The tribunal found this was direct discrimination and awarded compensation to Mr H which ultimately put Mr B out of business.

If you have concerns about a potential employer’s motives for asking about your sexuality, do not hesitate to make contact with one of our experts on 01202 075754 or send Kate Brooks an email enquiry. Alternatively, visit our newly launched ‘Same-Sex Legal Advice‘ service pages to find out more on lgbt employment law.