Inappropriate questions at work?

Every year we have an employee survey which just about everyone is encouraged to complete. It measures the working environment, your line management, business management and the entire organisation. It give the management a feel for what the employees are feeling about the company.

I’m just filling in this years and I was surprised by one question. “What is your sexual orientation?” with the list of options being Heterosexual, Bisexual, Gay man, Lesbian.

Interestingly the survey is anonymous and this is done during the employee details phase, this includes narrowing where I work down to the exact department, my sex (male or female), whether I have a physical disability, my race and my age. Why then do they require my sexual orientation?

10 comments on “Inappropriate questions at work?”

  1. Dave Morrow Reply

    Those 4 options are a little limiting in this day and age surely? Dare you to score them out and write ‘I’m a sheep botherer’..

  2. ghani Reply

    that’s quite surprising! I can see an organisation wanting to have those sorts of demographics on hand, but that’s just not a question that any employer really needs to ask. Did you respond?

  3. widowed to an Xbox360 Reply

    Unfortunately it was an online survey so no option to add in additional sexual preferences!!!!!

  4. Louise Reply

    I completed the exact same survey form and that one stuck out for me as well. I don’t really think it would be any more appropriate to ask what religion you are. Very strange especially when as you say it can be narrowed down to your department. If they are interested in an honest answer they could do a seperate survey surely, one that you can take part in if you want without hoodwinking it into the employee opinion survey. I wonder what next years inappropriate question will be.

  5. Patrick Reply

    I think the “anonymous” was always rather ambigous: the survey puts cookies on your PC.

    This also means that if you go onto other PCs in your department (or any other building) you can complete more than one survey (and presumably stop your colleagues completing theirs). Well, it worked last year – and the year before that…

  6. Richard Reply

    I did respond Ghani, I’ve since found out that officially it’s an optional response question, but to be honest I didn’t see that anywhere on the form.

    Also the word is that it’s being used to see who does respond to it, and will just make some interesting MI cuts rather than being there to really gain an understanding of responses.

    It’s a strange organisation indeed. Requiring MI for MI’s sake.

  7. Louise Reply

    I agree a very strange organistation. It didn’t look like an optional question to me either. Heh lets add an extra optional question to ascertain if people thought it was a strange question, that way we will have more MI.

  8. Patrick Reply

    “Requiring MI for MI’s sake”.

    But you know it does that already, don’t you? It is all about control; though the need for MI provides an unrealistic view of control.

  9. Lee Reply

    I’d have refused point blank to answer it, it has no bearing whatsoever on the purpose of the survey.

    “I hate working here because I’m gay”. Don’t think so.

  10. Lee Reply

    Having spoken to some people in a team I “rent a desk” from, there is now a team full of males in their thirties who are all lesbians. Now that’s how to get around it.

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