herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Job applicants asked about periods and breasts by university

Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh
Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh

A UNIVERSITY has come in for scathing criticism after a health questionnaire for prospective employees queried their menstrual cycles.

The “pre employment health assessment” asks women applying for jobs at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) if they have heavy periods, gynaecological problems or breast problems.

The questions were today said to be “highly unusual” by the President of the National Recruitment Federation, Barbara McGrath.

“I have never come across such a line of questioning and I cannot think what purpose it serves,” Ms McGrath told the Herald. “I can’t see why any organisation would need to know such personal information.”

A senator has also criticised the questions contained in the NUIG health questionnaire, saying they are “invasive”, “misogynistic” and “totally out of order”.

Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh described the questionnaire as containing a “very invasive line of questioning”.

“I think some of the questions are totally out of order and as some commentators within the college [have said], they’re bordering on misogynistic,” Mr O’Clochartaigh told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

The questionnaire asks over 40 questions about the health of a prospective applicant for a position at the university.

It is not yet known what position they were applying for.

assessment

These questions are necessary to establish if the appointee is “fit for the job”, the form states, “without any undue risk to the health and safety of themselves or others at work”.

Mr O’Clochartaigh said the issue adds to calls for a total independent review, amid the broader context of equality issues in the college.

In a statement to the Connacht Tribune, NUI Galway said: “On appointment to a position the university issues an individual with a pre-employment health assessment form, among others, for completion.

“The form is in line with forms used for employment purposes.

“The form is completely confidential and returned by the individual to the university Occupational Health Physician directly.

The HR office does not have sight of or record of the completed form.

“A confirmation is simply received of medical fitness for duty or not.

“The form was introduced a number of years ago by an Occupational Health Physician to replace the medical consultation on appointment.”

cfeehan@herald.ie

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