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Russia – Job advertisement made fairer to curb discrimination

24 July 2013

A new law has been enacted forbidding employers from specifying desired characteristics when advertising jobs, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Details such as desired gender, age, faith, race, nationality, origin, physical appearance, or marital and social status are no longer permitted to be included in the advertisement. To tackle discrimination in the workplace, President Vladimir Putin signed the new law on 2 July 2013 for it to come into effect on 14 July 2013. 

Prior to the implementation of the new legislation, Russian employers could be very specific about the type of candidate they wanted to apply for vacancies. According to data from the HeadHunter recruitment agency, about 25% of all job advertisement would not be considered discriminatory.

Mila Golovchenko, head of media relations at Headhunter, said: “During the new few years the recruitment process should be changed. The Russian labour market will become more civilised and benevolent. A new model for working with staff will be gradually developed, so new organisations joining the market will work in a new manner when they choose candidates, based on their professional skills. There will also be fewer and fewer hiring mistakes, than when a candidate is chosen predominately according to their appearance or age. Demands regarding the gender, nationalist, or age of the candidate and other examples of preferential treatment are discriminatory and should not influence an employer’s decision.”

The new labour law complements standards already covered by Russia’s existing labour law and the country’s constitution. It prohibits discrimination based on gender, race, skin colour, nationalist, language, origin, property, social or marital status, age, disability, and faith.

The penalty for placing discriminatory job advertisement will vary between RUB 500 (USD 15.45) and RUB 1,000 (USD 30.90) for individuals. Businesses can face fines between RUB 10,000 (USD 310) and RUB 15,000 (USD 464). Newspapers and websites that publish discriminatory advertisements will also face fines of undisclosed amounts.

Some critics of the new law have claimed that it will be a burden on both job seekers and employers. Despite not being able to specifically prescribe their desired candidate in the advertisement, it is suggested that companies will still recruit according to their own demands. They will simply have to interview more candidates in order to secure their desired employee.  

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