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Graemea & CYF New Zealand

Graeme Axford documents his Employment dispute with Child Youth & Family, (CYF) New Zealand

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CYF's & Equal Employment Opportunities

I asked why in the application pack it had an EEO form asking for questions about Gender and Ethnicity but not disability. This is the section of interest in answer to those questions.

In a letter dated 4 October 2006 from Paula Attrill, Regional Director Southern to Graeme Axford:

There is a view that, as issues of any disability are not known to the selection and interview panel the likelihood of any discrimination on disability grounds is reduced. There is strong guidance within the Public Service, based on the Human Rights Act, that asking questions about disability in the early stages of the recruitment process could lead to an assumption of discrimination

Ok, that is an interesting way of looking at it and to me it does not make sense.

Example:
As you can not truly judge ethnicity by skin colour, asking such pointed questions about ethnic groups as on the EEO CYF feedback form at early stages could create the same appearance of bias if I apply that logic to its full extent.

In addition to other information provided are there any other factors that Child, Youth and Family should know to assess your suitability for appointment and ability to do the job?

As CYF pointed out, if someone has a disability that could affect their job performance it should be noted at that point so the interview panel would know, one would think making the expiation from the CYF letter as quoted above complete nonsense in my view.

I would also have thought that in order to see if an EEO policy was working you would need to record the information from the application processes through to either employment or the job seeker being advised they were unsuccessful.

If an interview panel meets with someone during that process, they can determine some general idea of race, ethnicity, gender and disability if they are skilled by the type of answer given and background information provided by the applicant.

The way CYF gather the EEO information with only successful applicants being asked seems to make a mockery of the concept. People can slip through the gaps of this policy and no one would know. This current EEO policy can be likened to judging the success of school in a subject based on those who passed the exam as apposed to those who sat the exam and failed to pass. Remember?

The basic concept of an EEO policy is that no employer can discriminate on the grounds of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability and alike. That all position be advertised and the best person will get the position.

Getting back to the issues at hand in Greymouth on Thursday, October 12, 11.00 am, I had a meeting with Paula Attrill and Shona Hickey from CYF. A transcript was written and here is an interesting quote.

Graeme's Disability
Graeme's dyslexia was raised. Paula explained that it was unhelpful for the panel not knowing that he had a disability at the time of the interview and questioned why it had not been identified on the CYF Application Form.

Can anyone not see the problem considering CYF EEO policy and how it does not seem to add up?

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