Equality in Recruitment

Equality in Recruitment

This policy replaces the UCC policy on Non-Discriminatory Interview Practice and the Equality Aspects of Interview Policy. It has been prepared by the UCC Equality Committee to give guidance to all members of recruitment and selection panels and internal and external job candidates applying for positions in the university on the application of Irish equality legislation to the recruitment process in UCC. The recommendations in this policy were approved by the Governing Body of the university on 8th December 2009.

1 Responsibility

It is the responsibility of UCC to communicate this policy to selection committees and applicants applying for positions in the university and to keep a record of all decisions made for up to two years after the date of the decision. It is the responsibility of all members of the selection committee to familiarise themselves with this policy and not to discriminate against any candidate on the basis of their age, race, religion, gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, disability or membership of the Traveller community[1]. It is also the responsibility of the selection committee to refrain from making a judgement on the physical health, mental health or sensory abilities of a candidate as this will be assessed by a qualified doctor. It is the responsibility of the applicant to inform UCC about any special requirements or reasonable accommodations that will be required for attendance at interview.

The UCC Equality Committee is responsible for implementing, monitoring and reviewing this policy at regular intervals. Any complaints in relation to discrimination at recruitment stage should be directed towards the Recruitment Office in UCC.

2 Policy Statement

University College Cork is an equal opportunities employer and the University welcomes applications from all candidates.

UCC will endeavour to treat all job candidates fairly and apply this policy consistently. UCC will not tolerate any discrimination, be it direct or indirect, by any member of the UCC community. Direct discrimination is defined in Irish Equality legislation as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the nine grounds[2]. Indirect discrimination is defined as the provision, practice or requirement that puts people who belong to one of the grounds covered by the Equality legislation at a particular disadvantage unless the provision is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary. UCC reserves the right to take any positive action measures necessary to redress any imbalances in employment in the university. All positive action measures in relation to recruitment will only be taken following the consent of UMT.

3 Interview Panel

The composition of Selection Committees shall reflect the University's commitment to principles of equality and diversity. Gender representation must be achieved on Selection Committees. It is the role of the Chairperson and Human Resources Representative to ensure that committee members refrain from asking questions that may be considered unsuitable from an equality point of view i.e. asking a candidate why s/he is applying for a job at this stage in their life? Or asking who will care for their children during working hours? (See Appendix A for a list of case law decisions) The Human Resources Representative shall also provide advice and support on possible equality issues around the recruitment process.

4 Criteria

Selection/Rejection criteria, both job and person specific, should relate only to the requirements of the job. They will also be the sole basis of candidate assessment. While qualifications are required for all posts, equivalencies may be considered i.e. certain applicants may not have completed the Leaving Certificate so alternatives may be deemed suitable.

5 Advertising

External vacancies will be advertised on the UCC website and sometimes other related websites and in national newspapers. Internal vacancies will be advertised via email and intranet to all UCC employees. UCC will continue to avoid using inappropriate pictures in advertisements and gender specific language such as “craftsmen” should be avoided. The exact criteria agreed pre-advertising will be used for both internal and external adverts. These specific criteria will be applied to all applicants and decisions will be based solely on the information provided by the applicant.

6 Short-Listing

The criteria, decided pre-advertising, shall be applied to all candidates both internal and external to UCC when short-listing for positions available. Should a candidate not meet one or more of the essential criteria then they shall be deemed ineligible for interview.

7 Interview Arrangements

If a candidate cannot make an interview due to an illness or temporary disablement, the panel should endeavour to rearrange another date for the interview for that candidate. All candidates will be required to furnish a medical certificate to substantiate a request to change the date of their interview. Interview panels should also refrain, where possible, from organising interviews to take place during times of religious obligation or religious festivals of candidates i.e. Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year, Diwali[3], Eid ul-Fitr[4] etc.

Interviews should only take place in a room that is quiet and accessible. i.e. a person with a walking aid/wheelchair should be able to get to the interview location, accessible toilets should be located nearby, the doorway should be wide enough to allow someone with a physical disability to get into the room and the furniture in the room should be laid out in such a manner as to reduce the number of obstacles for someone with mobility difficulties.

8 Seminar Presentations

Seminar Presentations for academic posts other than professorial posts will take place in front of members of the Selection Committee plus staff from the employing department/school/unit. It is the responsibility of the Head of the employing Department to ensure that equality procedures are followed in relation to questioning from the audience (See Seminar Briefing Notes on HR website for further information).

9 The Interview

Candidates should be assessed at interview on areas that clearly relate to the employee specification and job description. Members of minority groups or members of one sex should not disproportionately be screened out. All candidates should be asked the same core questions with more detailed probing allowed depending on the answers provided. The Human Resources Representative will record all questions asked and individual scoring sheets will be prepared for all candidates. Committee members should take care to use correct and consistent titles in all communications and correspondence with candidates and candidates should be addressed in a standardised manner.

It is the responsibility of the Chairperson or HR Representative to introduce the candidate to the board. As the equality legislation governs both internal as well as external candidates, the same standards should apply. Small talk and jokes should be avoided as they can lead to a discussion of personal circumstances which could prejudice the interview.

The member of the board that collects the candidate for interview from the waiting area should also avoid unnecessary discussion. In the event that a sign language interpreter has been engaged by a candidate for an interview, all of the interview panel should direct all questions towards the candidate. In the event that a guide dog accompanies a candidate in for an interview, the panel should refrain from touching the dog. If a visually impaired candidate requires assistance to get around obstacles in the room, one of the interview panel should offer assistance to the candidate. If in doubt about what assistance is required, ask the candidate. Please refer to the UCC Code of Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities for further guidance on accommodating people with disabilities.

10 Work Authorisations

Academic/Research posts - If coming to work in UCC from outside of the EU, EEA, Switzerland a valid work authorisation is required. (A work authorisation is also required for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals). This authorisation under the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006 supersedes any other piece of employment legislation in Ireland. Please note that, as decided by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, UCC are unable to apply for work permits for clerical and administrative staff. Further information on work authorisations is available on the following HR web pages: Employment Permits

11 Feed back

Feedback can be provided for all candidates and all such requests should be directed to the Department of Human Resources. Equality Legislation still applies even though the interview process is complete so care should be taken by committee members and members of the employing department when addressing candidates.

12 Training

Training on equality in recruitment is strongly recommended for Chairpersons and Selection Committee members. Such training is available via the Department of Human Resources.

Appendix A –Decisions in Case Law

The following actions related to recruitment have been found to be breaches of the Employment Equality Acts in previous cases. The circumstances of cases differ, and a tribunal or court will have regard to all the circumstances in deciding whether discrimination has occurred.

  • Asking a candidate whether he /she has children
  • Asking whether he/she is married or single
  • Asking who will care for children during working hours
  • Recording a candidate’s civil status or number of children in writing
  • Asking a candidate why he/she is applying for the job at this stage of their life
  • Failure to keep proper interview records and/ or destroying them too soon after interview
  • Marking of candidates in an illogical fashion
  • Including a reference to “craftsmen” in documents sent to candidates
  • Addressing a female candidate as a “lady electrician”
  • Advertising for a “young and dynamic professional”
  • Asking a candidate for his/her date of birth or age
  • Failure to provide a technical test in electronic format to a candidate with a vision impairment
  • In making a decision on recruitment, taking into account a candidate’s visual impairment and consequent inability to work from paper

[1] Nine grounds of discrimination identified in the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2007 and Equal Status Acts 2000 - 2004

[2] Gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, family status, civil status or membership of the Traveller community

[3] Diwali is a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and an official holiday in India. Adherents of these religions celebrate Diwali as the Festival of Lights.

[4] Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated through out the Muslim world on the 1st Shawwal (The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Shawwal migrates throughout the seasons)

Human Resources

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