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Q about My Job interview..... today


User_Removed 16 279
8 Feb 2006 11:23AM
What does this say about both the person and the organisation? Do you really want to consider working for this person?

It's sexist, illegal, immoral and unethical. Are these good reasons for women to be complicit in perpetuating this within the marketplace by lying? That doesn't solve anything, no matter how much one would want the job.

I believe Sus had the right response and he should be told where to stick it. All the women I know and work with would have made him feel like the dinosaur he is.

I don't condone lying - simply because if all women who are asked this question and tell prospective employers where to go - things will then change. I'd be furious with any prospective employer who had the cheek to ask my partner if she intended starting a family.
cathal 17 492 4 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2006 11:34AM
Don't answer the question! If you don't get the job take a case against him. You'll win either way.
SuziBlue 18 16.2k 10 Scotland
8 Feb 2006 11:50AM
I'd go along with those who would challenge him having asked you in the first place. Disgraceful. If he's asking you he's asking other women too, and would you want to work with someone like that? Bear in mind that if he's already prejudiced against women because of his duties as an employer with regard to maternity rights it's not impossible that he may try and give you a hard time if you do fall pregnant. There are frightful statistics, even now, showing that women have been asked to leave, or have been made redundant, or otherwise had their working lives made very unpleasant to the extent that cases of constructive dismissal have been held against their employers..

If he's a small employer he might like to contact the Federation of Small Businesses who actively help their members deal with financial issues around maternity leave and benefits.

Would he ask a guy the same question? And how would he handle a guy starting a family and taking paternity leave?

Sounds like bad news to me.
UserRemoved 17 4.2k
8 Feb 2006 12:31PM

Quote:If he's a small employer he might like to contact the Federation of Small Businesses who actively help their members deal with financial issues around maternity leave and benefits.


Was it the head of this organisation or the CBI or someone who made the statement that this is normal practice for small businesses?

I would also wonder if it is illegal. I know that fair employment laws and other things only apply here to companies with bigger than a certain number of people (4 or 8 IIRC - its been a while since I had to be up on current legislation).

Also if its not a full time post there may be other certain rules.


So yes it might be illegal, yes it might be unfair but lets be honest, if you were in the same position would you ask the question, particularly a single small business who might end up paying maternity and sick pay and also paying for someone to cover?

If I were you I'd take the job and then deal with everything else after but as others have pointed out, do you really want to work for someone with that attitude?

Not everything in life is black and white though.
Big Bri 20 16.7k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2006 1:33PM
On reflection, I agree with Joe. Some businesses can't afford to pay maternity leave, and doing so may put other employees at risk.

Our company took on a young woman as a receptionist a few years ago. She showed up for the first day, then went home sick at lunchtime. Turned out she "discovered she was pregnant" that very morning and was depressed about it. We never saw her again, and every two weeks her boyfriend would bring in a sick note from her doctor saying she was depressed. Then she took maternity leave then quit. Cost us about 20 grand altogether for a mornings work.
rodp 16 1.2k England
8 Feb 2006 1:47PM
Sorry, you're all wrong. It's not illegal to ask if you are going to start a family, it's illegal for him to base his judgement on your answer. He can ask you anything he wants to as long as it's within the normal boundaries of civility etc. So Sarah, go on and lie, then when you get pregnant you'll find out just what you can be sacked for.
We, at work, have quite a high turnover of staff due to a number of things i.e. low pay, high volume of work, abrubt management etc and have now started to lower our percentage of female staff due to persistent sickness and threat of pregnancy leave.
What it boils down to is the fact that we cannot afford to keep training women then have them fall pregnant or go on long term sickness leave, tough but that's the way it is. What you have to realise is that any worker is no more than a tool for the company, if that tool does not do the job then throw it away and get one that does!!!
Sorry to burst your bubble but that's the way it is, YOU WILL NOT WIN, YET.
User_Removed 16 279
8 Feb 2006 2:02PM

Quote:Sorry, you're all wrong. It's not illegal to ask if you are going to start a family, it's illegal for him to base his judgement on your answer


The very fact that the question is being asked renders it illegal - especially as there was inference regarding the cost-effectiveness of the training in the event of pregnancy. The relevance of the question would also be taken into consideration i.e. it is irrelevant - if he is not going to base his judgement on the answer. Therefore its legality is in question. QED.
User_Removed 16 279
8 Feb 2006 2:06PM

Quote:What you have to realise is that any worker is no more than a tool for the company, if that tool does not do the job then throw it away and get one that does!!!


You mentioned a high staff turnover - maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons is quoted above.
cambirder 17 7.2k England
8 Feb 2006 2:06PM

Quote:Cost us about 20 grand altogether for a mornings work


Got done their then, as she never got beyond her probationary period she could have been sacked well before getting to the maternity leave stage.
User_Removed 16 279
8 Feb 2006 2:20PM

Quote:Cost us about 20 grand altogether for a mornings work.


I would respectfully suggest that in this case the real economic risk to the business was the management by human resources - and has nothing to do with employing female workers.

Of course it's difficult for small businesses to manage these issues - and I have sympathy with that; however, there's no excuse for unethical management and resource selection.
rodp 16 1.2k England
8 Feb 2006 2:29PM

Quote:You mentioned a high staff turnover - maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons is quoted above.



No argument with that!!!



Quote:The relevance of the question would also be taken into consideration i.e. it is irrelevant - if he is not going to base his judgement on the answer. Therefore its legality is in question. QED.



I can ask you what colour socks your dad wears, what I may not do is base my judgement of your suitability on your answer. Just because I ask you a question doesn't mean I will or will not employ you because of your answer therefore the question is not illegal. If the question was illegal I would not be able to ask if you wanted sugar in your tea as it may give me a clue to your true medical history and therefore influence my decision. I would not be able to ask, out of curiosity, what car your wife drives as you may say she drives an old classic which would, or could, lead me to think your timekeeping will suffer due to unreliability. I'm not employing your wife and as such should not allow her circumstances to interfere, but I would.
As I stated, I am not allowed to base my judgement on certain questions and answers but I can ask anything out of curiosity or during general chit chat (which a good interview will always include)
It's when you don't get a reply you realise that that nice bloke doing the interviews was really a crafty old b*****d that knew exactly what he was doing.
Don't blame me, it's what I'm paid to do,same as you do what you are paid to do.
Sus 16 3.2k 9 England
8 Feb 2006 2:45PM
No, it is illegal as it falls under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

I agree with those on here that although I do have sympathy with how difficult it is for small businesses - really it can pretty much s**ft them in a situation like this - this is the law and like it or lump it. It might not be totally fair -after all if you can broadly limit 'possible pregnancy leave' or 'family commitments requiring time off' to one sex and a limited age group, perhaps this is not entirely 'unfair discrimination'. Perhaps the employment law restrictions should be less onerous, thereby reducing the fear of employing such people? I don't know.

Interesting Rod you cite the reasons why you have a high staff turnover, and the method of tackling it (employing fewere female staff) seem totally unrelated. Or is it that women in your company are paid lower have more work and are managed more abruptly than the men??!
User_Removed 16 279
8 Feb 2006 2:59PM

Quote:As I stated, I am not allowed to base my judgement on certain questions and answers but I can ask anything out of curiosity or during general chit chat (which a good interview will always include)


I'm sorry but we'll have to agree to disagree on this. You can't ask anything out of curiosity (the mind boggles as to just what could be asked) and there is no such thing as general chit chat - it's always a formal interview.

As far as trying to explain to a top employment lawyer that you were just being chatty by asking whether your female interviewee was 'going to start a family?' - they'd have a field day.

No decent business in 2006 will ask this question. They will choose the best candidate for the job. Any question relating to pregnancy is irrelevant and if asked, will always be deemed as a means of judgement because of its irrelevance.

Of course, a candidates's sock colour would sway me.
UserRemoved 17 4.2k
8 Feb 2006 3:01PM

Quote:No, it is illegal as it falls under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.



No it doesnt.

As I hinted at above....
Part II Section 6 paragraph 3
(b) where the number of persons employed by the employer, added to the number employed by any associated employers of his, does not exceed five

So with most of the laws it only applies to businesses over a certain limit.

So if he has less than 4 employees he can ask away and discriminate away!

I once heard of a private company who was falling foul of the fair employment laws here in NI. They should have been employing workers on a religious breakdown based on their catchment area. They kept widening their catchment area to suit the figures then were pulled up about it.
So they moved lock stock and barrel to a completely different area where their staff would reflect the local religious breakdown. They couldnt be touched.

Of course its all well and good all us 'experts' in the area making comment as it doesnt matter a damn in the real world. If you want the experience bad enough you are going to lump the conditions for the job.
If you dont, you dont. simple.
rodp 16 1.2k England
8 Feb 2006 3:12PM

Quote:Interesting Rod you cite the reasons why you have a high staff turnover, and the method of tackling it (employing fewere female staff) seem totally unrelated. Or is it that women in your company are paid lower have more work and are managed more abruptly than the men??!


Not at all, they are treated the same, they just seem to take the hump more then start having time off sick etc. The answer is to not employ them if possible. We now have two in the offices and one on the shop floor at the midlands depot and two on the floor at our s/west depot. They seem to stick it, when they can't they'll go.

The statement I'm trying to make is that although the employment laws are tightening up they are in no way restrictive yet to the "creative" employer. This thread started off with a question about lying to get a job and then using the law to keep it, that aint gonna happen if the employer is on the ball, sure as God made little apples Sarah will be out of work within days of being pregnant so let's not drop her in it by stating otherwise, she may need a job to exist not to prove a point in law that she's going to lose.What we are talking about here is what really goes on, not what the government would like you to believe. As for asking the question about a family, would you like to tell me where it states I cannot have a nice, off the record chat whilst showing someone around the factory. All we can find is the fact that you cannot ask the question on an application form and you cannot ask it in a manner which may influence your decision. The other thing to remember of course is WHAT QUESTION, I never asked that. As I said, I'm paid to do a job and I do it, very profitably.

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