One of the least known threats to business at the moment is that of career applicants - individuals who make false applications for employment, with the intention of bringing a discrimination claim against the employer.
These individuals would like to project the image that they are doing it “for the common good” or for “social justice”. However, these people aren't the social saints they claim to be, they use the full weight of the law to extract as much money as possible from companies.
Currently, career applicants tend to have some form of disability, gender reassignment, gender discrimination or are from ethnic communities. But with the introduction of sexual orientation and religious belief discrimination laws in December 2004 and the introduction of age discrimination by October 2006, such claims are likely to increase across a far broader range of applicants.
The most worrying aspect of the whole situation is how simple it is - the individuals involved make duplicate applications to employers with identical experience and qualifications.
They make one key change, including or omitting one piece of information that may lead to a discrimination case. The use of computers then allows them to mix the layout and format enough to ensure the notices that they are from the same person.
For example, and employer would receive two applications with almost identical information but looking very different in layout and typeface, one has a false British name and the other identifies the applicant as having a non-British nationality.
If the unsuspecting employer selects only the 'British' application, the career applicant could almost certainly establish a successful race discrimination claim for non-selection for interview on discriminatory grounds.
In such a scenario it is extremely difficult for the prospective employer to defend such claim, as it would be almost impossible to justify the non-selection for interview in non-discriminatory terms.
Though such claims are far from common, they are on the increase and there are a number of individuals known to various Employment Tribunals because they have made repeat claims.
A tribunal is likely to award compensation equal to the wages the applicant would have received in the job for the period of time it would be reasonable for the applicant to find work of equal or greater value. Typically such a period of loss would be in the region of three to si