Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ticking the boxes.

We have all been given a big envelope at work from the Human Resources Manager. It is about the Right to Work in UK Document Checks & Personal and Contractual Data Review. The company is worried that the personal information on file is correct and that we are compliant with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. So we have a "Right to work in the UK Policy" declaration to be signed by the employee when they hand in their proof, like a passport - this then has to be verified and signed by your line manager and then monitored and counter-signed by a director. That is not the funny form and neither is the "Personal Detail Update Check Form" which is name, wage number, contact details, next of kin and emergency contact details, those sort of simple and ordinary details. However, there is one box that must be completed on the "Personal Detail Update Check Form" and that is to declare that you have completed the "Equal Opportunity Monitoring" form. This I will now refer to as the "Funny Form".

The Funny Form.

Equal Opportunity Information.

In the interest of us being able to demonstrate our commitment to equal opportunities, may we ask that you complete this form by either ticking the relevant box or writing down your response. This should then be returned to the HR Department. Please be advised that providing your name is optional. Anyone who chooses to supply their name can be assured that this information will be treated with strictest confidence and only used to assist with any employment needs. Thank you.

Full Name: (Optional)
Employee No: (Optional)

Gender
Male
Female
Transsexual

Ethnic Origin

White:
UK (excluding Northern Ireland)
Northern Irish
Southern Irish
Other European
Other

Black:
Caribbean
African
Other

Asian:

Indian
Pakistani
Bangladeshi
South East Asian
Other

Religion:
Christian
Muslim
Sikh
Hindu
Jewish
None
Other

Nationality:

Marital Status:
Married
Separated
Divorced
Single
Widowed
Cohabiting

...Well, that is a very funny form indeed. What difference does it make if the employee is a transsexual? They have chosen their new gender and should be regarded by everyone as a member of that gender. What is the big deal about ethnic origin and skin colour? Which box should mixed race employees use? Why should the historic partition of India become so important? Should there not be a box for ginger haired employees? As my depot is in Wales, should there be a Welsh or Celtic ethnic origin box? Should there be a box for Welsh language speakers because that could also cause problems as I believe that there are differences between the Welsh spoken in North Wales to the Welsh spoken in South Wales. Nobody has spoken to me in Welsh at Treforest but some staff have spoken to each other in Lithuanian and Polish.

Ah religion, that was the box that really got me going! Religion should have nothing at all to do with employment but as they have included it on the form, I must make a declaration. I am an Atheist, so I had to insert "Atheist" next to the Other box. Why do Human Resources consider Atheists to belong to a minor religion? That does not add up to me as the Agnostics, those people who can not make up their minds or are not bothered can tick the None box.

Still, if the company really wanted to demonstrate commitment to equal opportunities, then it should simply promote from within rather than employ people from other firms.
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