Respect regional accents, minister tells employers - Palmers Solicitors

Respect regional accents, minister tells employers

Jobseekers should not have to drop their regional accent to persuade businesses to employ them, a government minister has warned.

Speaking on 28 January, Employmen<!–>t Minister Esther McVey said: “For too long people have had to neutralise or lose their accent out of fear of prejudicial treatment or to fit in.

“People shouldn’t have to lose their accents to get a fair crack at the whip. The more people don’t lose their accents, the more commonplace it will be to hear accents across a range of careers in, for example, universities, the legal profession or in broadcasting.

“Anyone from any walk of life can achieve whatever they want, regardless of what accent they have.”

In July last year, University of Manchester linguist Dr Alexander Baratta argued that potential employers should state in writing that applicants’ accents would not be used against them.

He added: “We should acknowledge that any form of workplace discrimination, to include accentism, should not be tolerated in a society which seeks to be more inclusive.”

There are strong safeguards in place to prevent illegal discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere against people on grounds known as protected characteristics – such as age, disability, race, gender and sexual orientation. However, at this time, “accent” is not a protected characteristic.

During the recruitment process, these safeguards include a ban on employers asking job candidates about protected characteristics, whether they are married, single or in a civil partnership or whether they have, or plan to have, children.

People who feel they may have suffered employment-related discrimination may find it helpful to seek expert legal advice. At Palmers, we understand that the cost of legal advice may be a concern so fixed fee interviews are available and you may find you have legal expenses cover under the terms of your household or car insurance policies to help pursue a claim. For more information, please contact Lara Murray.