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Have I been discriminated against?

(25 Posts)
keepthinkingaboutthis Sun 24-Mar-13 03:30:55

Have N/C.

I may be over thinking this but would like to talk it over with.

I applied for a job at a London University online. I sent the application form last Friday deadline. Received an email on Monday asking me to fill in the Diversity form. I did so and emailed it back. I purposely didn't fill it in first time round as I thought they were optional? I didn't want to appear difficult so sent it off when requested.

Within 5 hours I receive another email saying 'unfortunately on this occasion you have not been selected for an interview'.

I keep wondering why did they ask me for the Diversity form.

I am from Central Africa with a very obvious African name.

I thought of asking them why did they request the form then! but since I sent the application from work, I didn't want to appear difficult.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 03:46:40

IMO, you're over thinking it.

Like you say, 'diversity' forms are pretty usual these days, especially with an organisation like a university.

I don't think you have to fill them in either, they send them out to everyone not just people they suspect of being furriners.

Out of all the decisions choosing the right person for the job would entail, I would say (possibly naively, I don't know) having a name which could mean the person came from Africa would be quite low on the list.

What is it that's made you think this is the reason they've rejected you rather than the skill set/experience you have and whether they think they'd fit the job they're offering?

upholsterer Sun 24-Mar-13 03:51:16

I'm afraid I don't know much about HR processes, but I wonder if they needed to have all the necessary forms in order to provide a response - whether negative or positive. I think in my organisation an HR administrator checks that all the necessary parts are completed and the departmental manager and HR manager then select candidates for interview. I don't think the diversity forms are seen by the people doing the selections.

Mondrian Sun 24-Mar-13 03:53:20

Barking up the wrong tree, pretty sure your application was assessed prior to completion of diversity form, upon receipt of which the result was announced to you. It is however interesting to see your immediate reaction. Read a thread yesterday about the DH of a MNer who had managed to get a job after 140 applications ... That's what it takes to get a job these days & not playing the race card. For the record I am also a minority.

keepthinkingaboutthis Sun 24-Mar-13 05:00:33

Asking a question on here is not playing the race card.
I accept I was over thinking it. Just found it odd to email me a request for it and a couple hours it's a no.

AngelAtTheTopOfTheTree Sun 24-Mar-13 05:11:22

Very, very possibly. I lived in mainland Europe and was discriminated against for being from the UK. You were very possibly born in the UK, but some people may look at the name and think otherwise. It sucks, sorry.

flyingspaghettimonster Sun 24-Mar-13 05:18:49

A friend of mine was just rejected for a university place based on religion. She isn't particularly religious and they told her as a Christian university they had the right to discriminate based on religion. I never knew discrimination was acceptable at all in universities. It is sad if candidates aren't selected on knowledge and ability in a place of higher education of all places.

Sunnysummer Sun 24-Mar-13 05:25:22

Where I work the diversity forms and the applications are also dealt with totally separately, so it may well be likely that they realised you hadnt done it, needed it to fill in a checklist, but didn't want to send a rejection followed by a request for a diversity questionnaire that might feel like rubbing salt in the wound. However, I always thought that diversity questionnaires are optional, so couldn't be totally sure about your situation...

Hope that next time round you have lots more luck and less bureaucracy x

AngelAtTheTopOfTheTree Sun 24-Mar-13 05:25:42

It is sad if candidates aren't selected on knowledge and ability in a place of higher education of all places.
Couldn't agree more. Absolutely the uni's loss.

LessMissAbs Sun 24-Mar-13 06:22:55

I work for a university and we have many people there from countries such as Nigeria and other African countries. There is a far higher representation than within the local populatoin as a whole of those from overseas, particularly amongst the lecturing staff. Universities make so much money from overseas students I often suspect they delibertately recruit non-UK staff to make themselves more appealing. So I would doubt you have been discriminated against, and it would be almost impossible to prove. You could easily check the staff lists and photos on the university intranet to see who else works there though.

I'm with you on disliking racial monitoring forms. I'm white and hold a British passport but am not 100% British and object to being asked to state whether I am Scottish or English on these forms, when I am neither. I sometimes cannot believe the claptrap HR people come out with. I was once sent on a "racial diversity" training day which consisted of us being asked to list all the racial insults we could think of, and reflecting on them. Seriously! Why couldn't we have had guidance on actual racial discrimination law instead!

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 06:41:57

TBH it's highly unlikely that you have been overlooked because of being African. That is the whole point of the diversity form - to make sure they are recruiting across all spectrums of society, and filling quotas for minority applicants. In fact in the public sector minority applicants are more likely to be over-represented and subject to positive discrimination, rather than under-represented and discriminated against - certainly at during the recruitment process, anyway.

However. I imagine it is entirely possible that the person responsible for sifting through applications has disregarded those from people who failed to fill in the diversity form.

noblegiraffe Sun 24-Mar-13 06:54:23

They sent you the form because they publish their annual figures for percentage of ethnic minority applicants who apply for jobs, are shortlisted and who actually get the job, as part of their equal opportunities policy.

If they were going to discriminate against you because you're African, it would have been better for them to have not chased up your form (as your name is obviously African) so you could have been excluded from the stats as your ethnicity would be unknown.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 24-Mar-13 07:03:45

The request was more likely made due to needing to tick off all the preselect boxes, but I guess it is possible.

LadyRainicorn Sun 24-Mar-13 07:27:58

But the forms are optional, so why chase it up?

nextphase Sun 24-Mar-13 07:33:32

If they really didn't want you because of your name, NOT asking for the form would be the sensible option!
I suspect since it was past the deadline, and it was an online form, a computer has scanned all the forms, and rejected those which don't contain a certain number of "hit" words. the rest will then be printed for Human assessment.

Sorry you didn't get the job.

raisah Sun 24-Mar-13 10:01:12

I work at à university and deal with recruitment as one part of my role. I think that you have been discriminated against because of the pita process of getting à shortlisting panel to agree on candidates to interview takes & should take longer thans 5 hours.
The forma are optional. The panel needs toe read all applications then score thema online before the shortlist can be selected. Thats the system we use different system may do it another way.

mellen Sun 24-Mar-13 10:04:46

It was 5 hours from the diversity form going in, not the application.
It does sound like a decision had been made, so they were getting all the HR side tidied up before they told you, rather than try and get you to fill out a form after being told that you had not been successful.

SPBInDisguise Sun 24-Mar-13 10:10:23

I always thought they were optional too.
OP I agree with the others you are unlikely to have been overlooked because of race, (and if you were more fool them - know that's not likely to be a comfort) but it does sound like it was all badly handled.

beals692 Sun 24-Mar-13 12:41:55

I agree with the others here that completing the monitoring form and receiving the 'unsuccessful' e-mail aren't related (or, at least, are only related because someone in HR wanted to have all data when they input the outcome on the computer). The data will be collected to monitor for any discrimination in recruitment processes (e.g. are people from x group under-represented in applications, are people from x group disproportionately not shortlisted for interview).

I think it's unlikely that many organisations (and particularly large, public sector organisations who actively monitor diversity) would blatantly ask someone for their ethnic background and then say 'right, we don't want anyone from that race, reject their application'. That's not to say that discrimination doesn't occur e.g. people see an African name or a female name on an application form and subconsciously rate them differently - but the purpose of collecting and analysing this data is to identify and deal with these types of issues.

raggedymum Sun 24-Mar-13 12:53:39

I've made hiring decisions at a University and have never seen a diversity form. I assume they are something dealt with only at HR.

It sounds like an overly-zealous HR person trying to check all the boxes before responses were sent. I wonder if it is filling out the form that is optional, and not returning it, IYSWIM? I recall there being a box for "not disclosed" on the form itself?

TarkaTheOtter Sun 24-Mar-13 12:58:50

Agree with others, the panel assessing your application will not have seen your diversity form.

twofingerstoGideon Sun 24-Mar-13 13:19:30

A friend of mine was just rejected for a university place based on religion. She isn't particularly religious and they told her as a Christian university they had the right to discriminate based on religion. I never knew discrimination was acceptable at all in universities. It is sad if candidates aren't selected on knowledge and ability in a place of higher education of all places.

Was that in the UK, Spaghetti?

twofingerstoGideon Sun 24-Mar-13 13:22:24

OP, sorry for the thread hijack. I was curious about spaghetti's post.

I work at a uni and I have to say it is one of the most anti-discriminatory places ever, so I wouldn't have thought your ethnicity would have had any bearing on your job application. Also, as public sector employers, they are very conscious of being seen to 'do things properly'.

Good luck with your job hunt!

keepthinkingaboutthis Sun 24-Mar-13 13:29:10

Somebody made a good point that the application has my name anyway so I have definitely over analysed the situation.

I was born in this country. My Father is Italian, Mother African, but my name is like: zghsyejwnshdwiiiiiiiwsndjbjedcdb. Hahaha.

I normally do fill in the Diversity questionnaires but for some reason I just didn't want to for this particular application. I don't know why!

I am happy in my current employment but serious restructuring that is going on there currently is forcing me to look elsewhere.

Thanks for all those who have replied.

SolomanDaisy Sun 24-Mar-13 13:34:14

I doubt it was discrimination, the person who wanted the monitoring form wouldn't have been making the decisions. Potentially they were offering guaranteed interviews to disabled applicants, so need to check that? But I have heard some scary stories about how many applications unis are getting for jobs at the minute, it was probably just that there were way too many qualified applicants.

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