Tuesday 18 December 2018

University's questions on menstrual cycles and breast problems 'totally out of order' and 'misogynistic' - Senator

Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh
Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A senator has criticised questions contained in a university’s occupational health questionnaire for prospective employees as “invasive”, “misogynistic” and “totally out of order”.

National University of Ireland Galway’s ‘pre employment health assessment’ forms ask female job applicants about their menstrual cycle.

Among the questions posed are: “Do you suffer with any problems with your menstrual periods? Do you suffer any breast problems? Have you ever been treated for gynaecological problems? Have you ever suffered prostate problems?,” the Connacht Tribune reports.

Senator Trevor O’ Clochartaigh has 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.

"I can't understand why any third-level institution would be asking any prospective employee questions that are of such an invasive nature and intrude into people's privacy."

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

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 raised the question this morning that if you are a woman who has particularly heavy periods, are you going to be discriminated against?

He called for a review by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, noting 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.”

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