Asking your sexual orientation at work

(112 Posts)
wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sat 12-Jul-14 20:29:41

Weird question I know but at work today boss was filling out new member of staffs form .
One of the questions was ie white hetrosexual femail
I know I haven't explained this properly .
It's just that I thought this is so wrong as it's no ones business what your preference is .
She said it was data and it was to make sure that they were employing fairly

SquigglySquid Sat 12-Jul-14 20:31:23

Do you have an option to mark "do not wish to specify"? I would be checking this for every single question.

I'm not sure what UK laws are, but here you are not allowed to ask about family, race, religion, or orientation when it comes to a job.

Nancy66 Sat 12-Jul-14 20:31:45

so she was filling them out or the staff were? How would she know people's sexual orientation?

We have that at work (Higher Ed) too. It is just for statistics, and to make sure things are done fairly. There's a 'prefer not to say' box on the form for those that don't want to state their sexual orientation.

Meant to add, our selection panels DO NOT see this information, the form is retained within HR.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sat 12-Jul-14 20:35:03

She was filling the form out on a lap top as she was updating some staffs information as in next of kin and all that stuff

Pangaea Sat 12-Jul-14 20:36:34

Surely just a diversity survey?

Choose 'Prefer not to say' if you have a problem. Really doesn't bother me.

I just applied for an admin job in a school and this was a question on the application form. There was no option to decline to answer. Made me a bit hmm. Why do they want to know?

TheCraicDealer Sat 12-Jul-14 20:51:11

In NI you have to state what part of the community you're from for all jobs and recruitment agencies you sign up to, it's required by legislation. I'd think this is an extension of this policy, so larger companies can say "x% of our employees identify as gay- er don't discriminate".

Pangaea Sat 12-Jul-14 20:52:15

TheCraic... they don't hire based on sexuality to fit quotas though. They just need to know their %s if asked.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 20:57:50

Questions about sexual orientation, religion, or trans-gender status should not be asked even for statistical or so -called monitoring purposes - not even with a Prefer not to say option. They are offensive and intrusive. If you are asked exercise the option because that will at least make the figures less liable to be (mis)used.

In thirty-odd years in the public sector I have never filled in these forms in any meaningful way. Under Race I answer Human, which is more or less correct.

TheCraicDealer Sat 12-Jul-14 20:59:59

I know they don't, they don't hire based on religion here either. They're called monitoring forms because they're monitoring the make-up of their employees. If companies have to provide this info on request and it encourages firms to have policies which make life easier for LBGT workers then I'm not bothered in the slightest.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 21:01:59

TheCraicDealer In NI do you have the Prefer not to say option?

What do people of Indian or Chinese origin commonly say?

GiantIsopod Sat 12-Jul-14 21:06:55

It's a diversity survey. You should ALWAYS have the choice not to answer it. Every form where it has been, I've always seen a non compulsory thing, where you can skip it. I'm bi, I do it, because I feel it's important to understand discrimination or disadvantages people might face within the workplace, especially for things which you can't just see, like sexuality, nationality and so on. BUT it is also a hugely personal survey and especially around things like sexuality, where, as there's still a lot of stigma, it can be very uncomfortable. If you'd asked me whether I would mind doing it a decade ago, I'd have hated the idea. It shouldn't be the boss filling it out for that matter, it should be for statistics, other people who don't need it for data (which could include your boss, or it could not), and there should always be a 'prefer not say' option.

TheCraicDealer Sat 12-Jul-14 21:17:00

It's been a while since I've had to fill one out, but I don't remember ever seeing a "prefer not to say option". We have different legislation here though, obviously. The question is usually phrased as "do you identify as a member of the Protestant, / Roman Catholic community or Other (Jewish, Muslim, etc).

It certainly makes companies more aware of the need for balance in their workforce, and personally I think that's progress.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 21:47:51

TheCraicDealer Thanks for this. Being a member of the Awkward Squad I would want to answer the question Do you identify with the word No but I guess whoever designed these forms saw that one coming!

Igggi Sat 12-Jul-14 22:02:27

What is the point of giving awkward answers though? Isn't a good thing for employers to be aware if their recruitment practices might not be reflective of the community?

kim147 Sat 12-Jul-14 22:53:50

They want to know to see if they are being diverse. If you are a member of a group who suffers discrimination, it can be helpful for employers to see who they are attracting.

Of course - if you aren't a member of a group that suffers discrimination, you'll probably think it's PC gone mad that they ask such questions.

Igggi Sat 12-Jul-14 22:58:42

Yes I imagine people putting silly answers are not usually the ones affected by discrimination. I realise that's a sweeping statement, but I suspect it's true.
I think the data could captured in a more discreet way however, shouldn't be the boss doing it.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 23:07:48

kim147 On the religious side, I am a member of a group that suffers discrimination.

And that is one of my reasons for preferring to keep the information to myself. Some employers will only use it for statistics - and some will abuse it. Why risk it?

I don't find such questions PC gone mad - I find them intrusive and impertinent.

kim147 Sat 12-Jul-14 23:09:55

As a member of a group who faces massive discrimination, I find that many employers don't even ask about my group. sad

kim147 Sat 12-Jul-14 23:11:21

And I think it's worth monitoring so they can ask why. Is there discrimination? Is the company not seen as being friendly towards your group? If you don't ask, you don't find out.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 23:14:26

If they don't ask they cannot discriminate!

There's a lot to be said for the fist sift in a big recruitment exercise being done on a copy of the form which does not disclose your name and therefore hides your gender and your ethnic origin. Those facts cannot be concealed further down the line, but your sexual orientation, your trans-gender status, and (in some cases) your religious background can be and should be. Permanently.

Andrewofgg Sat 12-Jul-14 23:14:57

*First sift

kim147 Sat 12-Jul-14 23:16:40

The forms are removed - so you can't tell who is applying.

Do you not think discrimination takes place at the interview?
I have had 20 interviews in 2 years and did not get one. I can't hide what I am - and if the forms were monitored centrally (as it's in education) someone might just see a pattern.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now