In recent years, the search for ways to prevent or reduce discrimination in the workplace has been one of the Spanish legislators’ main priorities and one of the most important problems to resolve.

In particular, factors as diverse as age, gender, origin, personal appearance and even race and skin color may sometimes be a barrier to getting a job and even taking part in a specific phase of a recruitment process. In short, an ideal candidate with a perfect CV could see the doors close on a professional career.

To change this situation, the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equal Opportunity signed a protocol on July 20, 2017 to take part in the design, implementation and evaluation of a blind CV project for recruitment of staff, which currently has 78 members (63 companies and 15 entities including social workers, universities, employment agencies and professional associations). The project, which is now in the operating phase and will conclude in the next few months, is aimed at drawing attention to the possibility of fighting recruitment process discrimination using curriculum vitae in Spain and other European countries (such as France, Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland, where similar programs have been conducted).

There is unanimous consensus on the benefits of the Project, although it is not exempt from doubts and concerns as to the viability of the final result.

In support of the idea, we could highlight the fact that it is true that blind CVs have the advantage of eliminating certain employer prejudices during recruitment processes, thus avoiding situations in which a person is judged on factors other than his/her skills and, in short, to promote equal opportunity and provide companies with greater diversity. After the initial phase of the recruitment process, personal interviews will enable employers and candidates to get to know each other and may help overcome initial prejudice.

However, the initiative also poses difficulties in achieving the required result, because:

  • relevant candidate details may be omitted and the company may not receive all the necessary information, even at initial stages of the recruitment process;
  • despite the information being limited, it may be possible to guess a person’s age or origin from other data, for example – when previous experience provides relevant information in this respect -; and
  • in short, there is nothing to prevent the discrimination we are trying to prevent from arising in other phases of the recruitment process, such as the personal interview.

These issues will undoubtedly have to be studied and resolved by the working groups involved in this interesting project in coming months, by analyzing issues such as what should be the exact content of a blind CV in order to provide all the necessary information to hire someone for a job? Is this measure viable for all kinds of jobs, bearing in mind that there are certain professions in which it is necessary to know the candidate’s gender, age or physical appearance? Would it be possible to include another additional measure to prevent discrimination in the following phases of the recruitment process? Could the measure be imposed by regulations or will companies be free to implement it or not?

The analyses carried out in the next few months by the working groups involved in the project will help to resolve these doubts.

Ismael Viejo

Garrigues Labor and Employment Law Department