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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 15911
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I have an assistance dog (not a guide dog but still a

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I have an assistance dog (not a guide dog but still a registered assistance dog as detailed on the ADUK website). I have been going for job interviews and I wish to know if the questions I am being asked are illegal or not. They certainly make me uncomfortable.
I always disclose my disability in advance and the fact I have an assistance dog.
In interviews, I have been told "you don't look disabled" and I have had security guards say "no dogs" despite me asking in advance if they could be made aware I am coming. In interviews I have been asked if my dog "really" needs to come everywhere with me and if there were any situations in which I could leave my dog at home. I've been asked what I would do if a colleague or customer was allergic or afraid of dogs. All these questions make me uncomfortable and I don't know what to do or say. Furthermore, how can I prove it happened? I would like some legal advice on this matter. I am in Scotland UK.

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Thank you!

Thanks for your question. The type of questions and treatment from security guards etc is not what is expected of potential employers under the Equality Act. The employer is expected to assess what reasonable adjustments could be made to enable you to do the job that is advertised. In doing so a balance is needed between the interests of the applicant and the interests of the business. There would be a real issue for example if an employee was adversely affected by a dog in the workplace and a solution to that would have to be sought if possible. Generally there are 4 things the employer can enquire at interview:

There are only four circumstances under the Equality Act in which it is allowed, and they apply to interviews, questionnaires and all other selection methods. They are:

  1. To find out if an applicant can carry out a function that's essential to the role. This could also be to help employers work out if an applicant could do the function with reasonable adjustments made for them.
  2. To take 'positive action' to assist applicants with disabilities. Employers may take steps to remove barriers or disadvantages and give support and encouragement to employees and job applicants with disabilities. But they'll have to show that other groups aren't discriminated against as a result.
  3. For monitoring purposes so that employers know the diversity of candidates. This is usually done without revealing an applicant's identity and not as part of selection decisions.
  4. To check a candidate has a specific disability where having such is a genuine requirement of the job. Such 'occupational requirements' are governed by their own rules under the Equality Act, and cannot just be down to an employer's preferences.
    So the employer is holding himself open to a claim if these are not followed. As you say, evidence may be an issue here and you may want to record any future interviews in case a serious issue arises. Covert recordings are allowed in civil proceedings in most cases. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited by JustAnswer for helping you today.
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 15911
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and 3 other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you