A questionnaire “highly intrusive,” at the University of Laval

News 26 January, 2018
  • Photo Daniel Mallard
    The campus of Laval University

    Elisa Cloutier

    Friday, 26 January, 2018 00:00

    Friday, 26 January, 2018 00:00

    Look at this article

    Date of your last menstrual period. Are you suffering from Aids ? Have you been treated for cancer ? Consulted with a psychologist ? The University of Laval has asked questions as intrusive as those for eight years to candidates for the recruitment of clerical jobs, in contravention of the Charter of rights and freedoms.

    According to the testimony of one candidate collected by The Newspaper, the medical questionnaire “very intrusive” of four pages was presented to him prior to his interview for the position of documentation technician at the University of Laval, in the month of November 2017.

    “I felt we went into my privacy. I felt irritated and I was not put in provisions that are very positive for the interview, ” says the woman, who requested anonymity.

    Among the forty questions of the form in which The Journal has obtained a copy, we find, among other things, a section on ” women only “, in which it was asked : “Have you had problems at the level of the breast and/or gynecologic ? “in addition to the date of the last pelvic exam, the name of the practicing physician, as well as the number of pregnancies, abortions, and, if the candidate is currently pregnant

    Form of the illegal content

    “This is about the best example of a form of the illegal content “, says Me Maxime Guérin, lawyer specialized in labour law, partner at Saraïlis Lawyers.

    Me Maxime Guérin, lawyer

    According to the Commission of human rights and droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ), the questionnaire contravenes any of sections 4, 5, 10, and 18.1 of the Charter of rights and freedoms, either relating to privacy and discrimination by sex, in particular.

    “The only fact you have presented this questionnaire to a candidate, that is discrimination,” said Me Stephanie Fournier, a lawyer for the CDPDJ, stating that in such cases, the employer is required to justify each of the questions in connection with the employment.

    The union ” falls out of his chair “

    The adviser trade union that represents the approximately 2000 support staff of the University of Laval has admitted to being “fallen to the bottom of his chair” when informed of this practice by The Journal.

    “If an employee arrived with this questionnaire, we would have a strong reaction, and this would be challenged,” said Eric-Jan Zubrzycki, denouncing firmly this kind of questionnaire ” discriminatory “.

    Owners of placement agencies in Quebec have also said in the same voice that no questionnaire type was subject to their candidates during a hiring process.

    “When we speak of a medical questionnaire is very precise, this is only for posts. For example, one can test for color blindness for an electrician who would have to work with threads of different colours ” shows François Lefebvre, head hunter and owner of the placement agency Ancia.

    Questionnaire removed

    Well the fact of the existence of this practice when first questioned by The Newspaper to this effect, the Laval University a few hours later and said that the medical questionnaire should be imposed on the candidates for ‘office jobs and a few jobs for technicians and trades” since 2009, had been removed. “We are reviewing this element in the hiring process,” said the spokesperson of the institution, Andrée-Anne Stewart.

    Decision made by the Court of human rights in a folder similar

    • Decision rendered on January 16, 2017
    • The Court gives reason to the Commission of human rights alleging that a medical questionnaire completed for the position of psychologist at the Centre for integrated health and social services (CISSS) is discriminatory, because it is not based on the aptitudes or qualifications required for this job.
    • The CISSS of the Laurentians had to pay the sum of $ 4,000 for moral damages to the applicant.

    Excerpts from the questionnaire

    “Have you ever been absent from your work or school because of illness for more than 5 days ? If yes, please explain. “

    “You said you denied a job or an insurance policy for a health reason ? “

    “Have you ever had an auto accident or been the victim of a work accident or an occupational disease that resulted in a loss of time ? If yes, please explain. “

    The questionnaire: