Laval U. Questionnaire: "When did you last menstruate?"

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture
Laval U. Questionnaire: "When did you last menstruate?"

Not to be nosy.  Frankly, don't tell me -- I don't need to hear about it.

But evidently, if you seek employment with Universite Laval, you better have answers.

Quote:
A Quebec City university is being criticized for a questionnaire that required job candidates to reveal whether they’ve been tested for HIV, the date they last menstruated and whether they’ve been treated for cancer.

I have to hope that some woman or women said "wha?  I'm menstruating right now!  Sorry 'bout your chair!!".

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Is that even legal?

WWWTT

Poorly titled thread.  

quizzical

Timebandit wrote:

Is that even legal?


it can't be.

it targets women.

they are not asking men when was the last time you ejaculated.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

WWWTT wrote:

Poorly titled thread.  

Yeah.  It should be edited to something like, "Laval asks applicants 'when did you last menstruate?' "  

quizzical

lol ken burch
i can't believe they are only being criticized.

think stronger action should happen.

asking for personal medical info as far as i read is a no no.

even though i believe every sexually active teen and adult should be going to get hiv and sti tested at least once a year.

as for cancer wtf?

the whole thing is a whole barrel of discrimination.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

What I found the most inexplicable was:

1. I couldn't really see any methodologically sound connection between the questions listed in the article, and workplace accommodation.  What things might my parents have died of that would somehow require my workplace to accommodate ME?

2.  Wouldn't the more appropriate time for such a questionnaire be when a candidate is hired?  Making someone spill their medical history when they're only at the applicant stage really makes it look like "weeding out" candidates who might require accommodation.

3.  Why not just a simple question:  "Do you have any health issues that you believe may require accommodation?"  If an applicant/employee has (let's say) a herniated disc, wouldn't it be easier to just let them say so, rather than asking them forty questions and trying to play House M.D. with their answers?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

quizzical wrote:
lol ken burch i can't believe they are only being criticized. think stronger action should happen. asking for personal medical info as far as i read is a no no. even though i believe every sexually active teen and adult should be going to get hiv and sti tested at least once a year. as for cancer wtf? the whole thing is a whole barrel of discrimination.

Agreed on all of that.  I think "criticized" was the word used simply because this became a story as as result of people saying "y'know, this just might possibly NOT be a good thing, Laval".  It starts with criticism and outrage, which then produces action.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It starts with criticism and outrage, which then produces action.

According to the article, here's that "action":

Quote:
She said the hiring process was currently undergoing a review that would likely lead to the creation of a new questionnaire.

So, less obvious or ridiculous questions, maybe?  Instead of "when did you last menstruate?", perhaps "to the nearest dollar, how much have you spent on feminine hygiene products in the last three months?".

And nothing about why this questionnaire, supposedly to help U. Laval accommodate employees, is being administered to people who may never become employees.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Ok...which, in THEORY, leads to action. 

Nonetheless, any process of ending any form of injustice starts with criticism, with people calling things out. 

Criticism then leads to organizing and to the presentation of alternatives.

There's never been any effort to change anything that didn't start that way.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Fair enough, Ken.  I'm not suggesting that the critics are the weak link.  Just that U. Laval seems to still think this requires a slight re-jigging of the questions, and I think there's more than that to do.

lagatta4

There are also some doozies in the photo (nervous conditions, mental health, joint conditions (I mean like arthritis, not like one you smoke) and in the original French story:

http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1080473/questionnaire-embauche-unive...

IANL (though I have worked a lot on discrimination issues, while a staffer for a tenants' association) but we do have lawyers among us. Many of these questions strike me as discriminatory and unrelated to employment criteria.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Certainly the question "when did you last menstruate?" is a time saver.

If someone's answer is "ten years ago" then it saves them having to ask "what sex are you" and "how old are you?"

WWWTT

Ken Burch wrote:

WWWTT wrote:

Poorly titled thread.  

Yeah.  It should be edited to something like, "Laval asks applicants 'when did you last menstruate?' "  

LOL! Obviously an more appropriate thread title would be along the lines of "employer asks inappropriate questions", 

I myself have been asked very many "inappropriate"questions during interviews, also from colleagues, friends and family! Also this is nothing new. If anything, it happens less!

Thread title is in poor taste! Simple as that. Sounds like you feel that if someone or some group does something wrong, then it's OK to be just as tasteless.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Thread title is in poor taste!

Did you notice that I changed it early this afternoon?  If it's less offensive now, does that mean you agree that it was more offensive when U. Laval asked it?

Quote:
I myself have been asked very many "inappropriate"questions during interviews, also from colleagues, friends and family!

Colleagues, friends and family have never been invited to my job interviews to grill me.  Is this some sort of social convention where you live, WWWTT?

WWWTT

LOL! You don't have to go through any trouble for me. Previously, and away from this forum, I would have titled a thread with the exact same approach as you have done! Absolutely nothing wrong with being provocative, but when I had the same approach as you (or what I feel to be a similar approach) I was scolded and hounded by other members for being allegedly offensive or inapropriate. So I figured ok, this forum has a different standard that I have to adjust to. When I seen your thread title I wondered where's the consistency???? Why am I held to a higher/different standard as others? So in a nutshell, yes, now I feel better that there's a little more consistincy! Thank you!

Now as far as U. Laval goes, I care for their questioning about as much as I care for potential employees that I have interviewed before in the past that have asked what I thought at the time to be stupid questions. And as far as friends and families go, I pointed this out because people can be stupid at times (sometimes less sometimes more and me included) and say things on the spur without thoroughly thinking the comment through.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Now as far as U. Laval goes, I care for their questioning about as much as I care for potential employees that I have interviewed before in the past that have asked what I thought at the time to be stupid questions.

We generally hold employers to slightly higher standards than job applicants, mostly because the deck is stacked in the employer's favour.  If some applicant asks, at the interview, "do lots of your hot female employees wear miniskirts" that's not the same as an employer expecting an employee to wear a miniskirt.

Quote:
And as far as friends and families go, I pointed this out because people can be stupid at times (sometimes less sometimes more and me included) and say things on the spur without thoroughly thinking the comment through.

A prominent, government-funded university isn't really the same as your Uncle Carl, nor is this HR questionnaire something they said "on the spur".

WWWTT

Sorry I made an error in that comment you quoted. It should read employers that have interviewed me. I have never interviewed potential employees in the past. Potential contractors for my job sites, but not employees. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

WWWTT wrote:

LOL! You don't have to go through any trouble for me. Previously, and away from this forum, I would have titled a thread with the exact same approach as you have done! Absolutely nothing wrong with being provocative, but when I had the same approach as you (or what I feel to be a similar approach) I was scolded and hounded by other members for being allegedly offensive or inapropriate. So I figured ok, this forum has a different standard that I have to adjust to. When I seen your thread title I wondered where's the consistency???? Why am I held to a higher/different standard as others? So in a nutshell, yes, now I feel better that there's a little more consistincy! Thank you!

 

So THAT's what this is about for you?  Not that you were actually offended by the title but that somebody else got away with something you supposedly didn't? In this case, the phrase you've belabored was simply a reference to what was asked in the questionnaire.  It wasn't put in their to be "provocative" for the sake of being provocative, but because in this case it was necessary to make the point of how unacceptable the questionnaire was.  I seriously doubt whatever you were scolded for was comparable to that.

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, the wording of the original thread title was altered when some found it objectionable, so it's not as if everybody was just totally chill with it from the start.

WWWTT

Do you really think you can twist this around Ken? Does the word consistency not mean anything to you? It means a lot too me! Perhaps you’re not into quality? I’m not really interested in how you want to spin this so you can black ball me. 

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

WWWTT wrote:

Do you really think you can twist this around Ken? Does the word consistency not mean anything to you? It means a lot too me! Perhaps you’re not into quality? I’m not really interested in how you want to spin this so you can black ball me. 

 

I'm not trying to "blackball" you, nor do I have the power to do so.  

Just saying that: 

A) The word "menstruate" is not intrinsically offensive;

B) The fact that you feel that this thread title is comparable to whatever it was you got trouble for posting(and I don't know or want to know what that was) doesn't mean it's an unchallengeable point that it is.  And, though I'm not a mod, it does strike me as inappropriate that you would take issue with the title to THIS thread, where we're discussing something really important, just to complain about the way a post of yours was handled in an entirely different thread on an entirely different subject.

What LaVal did here is a major issue, affecting the lives and dignity of potentially thousands of women.  How is the grudge you're nursing over double standards on a discussion board more important than allowing the discussion this thread was originally about to procede unimpeded?

Please.  Let it go already.  

WWWTT

Lol! I think everyone’s moved on Ken Burch. But really I should be ignoring you. I’m sure when other posters have more to contribute to this thread they will post.