Our Belfast office has finally got large enough to have to partake in the NI Equality Commission monitoring. This covers religion and gender. The options for religion are:
- I consider myself a member of the Catholic community
- I consider myself a member of the Protestant community
- I consider myself a member of neither community
Which all seems fine, except for the bit below that says "If you do not complete this questionaire, we are encouraged to use the "residuary" method, which means that we can make a determination on the basis of personal infomation on file/application form". It turns out that also applies to the neither option. So I clarified with the poor guy who's having to deal with this what he'd do if I ticked neither. And he rang the Equality Commission for some advice. And it turns out that although the wording in the step-by-step guide for employers is "we strongly advise" essentially if you end up with more than a certain number of neithers then you put yourself at risk of an investigation.
FFS. How the hell is this country supposed to get any better if even the Equality Commission is forcing us all to be one side or the other?
(I ticked the neither box and told the guy handling it that if he had to apply the residual method then I'd provide him some suitable information to support whichever side was most convenient. It's not his fault some silly buggers want to make me a Protestant or Catholic atheist, or imply I only hang round with one side or the other.)