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15/12/2017

Green Party Hits Out At SERC Over Equal Opportunites Monitoring Form

The Green Party has hit out at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) after it was revealed that job applicants are asked about their political opinions on their Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

The party's representative Hannah McNamara said she will be writing to SERC urging them to reconsider the gathering of "highly sensitive material".

On the form, applicants are asked to tick which political party represents their political opinion and are offered a choice of the five traditional parties in the Assembly. They can alternatively choose 'No political party', 'I prefer not to say' and 'Other'.
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She said: "Gathering this additional information seems rather redundant. We are living in a post-Troubles world where people are rightly able to cast their vote with total anonymity and any suggestion that this information could be placed in a database will set alarm bells ringing.

"Quite apart from that, this checklist is a blunt instrument which excludes four of the party denominations found in the Assembly parties, including the Green Party."

The College said on the form that while it will treat the information as confidential, applicants are advised that legal processes may require the College to disclose the information given on this questionnaire to certain statutory bodies and, in some circumstances, open Tribunal.

Miss McNamara concluded: "The Equality Commission has told me that this is an unusual question to include in an Equality Monitoring Form and that they do not regard it as an example of best practice. They have told me that they do not recommend that employers include this question."

(CD/MH)

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