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NUI Galway says questionnaire about menstrual cycles did not decide who got jobs

The forms were given to them upon receiving a job offer.

Image: ncaramanico via Flickr/CC

A SENATOR HAS said he “cannot understand” why NUI Galway asked women about their menstrual cycles before they started.

The university says that health forms given to prospective employees were a health and safety move to find underlying conditions, but Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said they were “invasive”.

The Galway City Tribune reports that prospective employees were asked 40 questions, including questions on their periods, their breasts and gynaecological problems. Men were asked about prostate problems. The forms were given to them upon receiving a job offer.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ó Clochartaigh said that he “couldn’t understand” why the questions would be asked.

“I think this an issue that the Equality Tribunal needs to look at and there are concerns about the data protection.

“If you answer yes, are you going to be discriminated against because you have heavy periods? That’s outrageous and unacceptable in this day and age.”

He called for the system to be reviewed and said that it was “bordering on misogynistic”.

A spokesperson for NUIG said that the questionaire replaces a face-to-face consultation for staff.

“This process of health screening was implemented by the University in 2008 following a decision by its Governing Authority. Prior to this all prospective staff were required to attend a pre-employment medical examination. The detail of the medical questionnaire used for pre-employment health screening is a confidential process between doctor and patient.

“The questionnaire was provided to the University by its Occupational Health service providers and is in line with best practice nationally. Many organisations in Ireland and the UK use a similar process to determine the health of future employees.”

They add that the form is privately held and does not decide who does or does not get a job.

The questionnaire is completed independently and privately by prospective staff members, regardless of gender, and subsequently examined by the occupational health physician. Where a staff member responds positively to questions the doctor will contact them directly to elicit further information and arrange a consultation if necessary. No person is deemed unfit for employment on the basis of the information disclosed on the occupational pre-placement health assessment form alone.

“The University takes on board the concerns which have been raised and will review its process in order to ensure that it continues to follow best practice in the area.”

Read: Staff at NUI Galway to start investigation into structural inequality

Read: NUI Galway Students’ Union to hold referendum on cannabis legalisation

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