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ANZ bank asks gay staff to come out

Sat 1 Dec 2007 In: International News

A union in the Australian state of Victoria has raised concerns about ANZ bank asking its employees to identify their sexual orientation and religion in a workplace survey. The bank's My Difference survey asks staff to tick if they are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender or other. Employees are also quizzed if they are comfortable discussing their sexual orientation with managers. They have the option of not answering if they feel uncomfortable with the question. ANZ spokesman Paul Edwards said yesterday the survey, sent to all 30,000 staff, was voluntary and anonymous. "ANZ supports the creation of an inclusive workplace where employee differences such as gender, age, culture, disability, religion and lifestyle choice are valued," he said. "We asked about religion and sexuality to check that there was no underlying discrimination issues or cultural problems." But Finance Sector Union spokesman Rod Masson said he was concerned that the collected data was genuinely anonymous and secure. "You'd hate to think if you ticked one of those boxes and then have your manager knocking on your door saying 'I didn't know by the way that you were X or Y,"' he said. "But if it's being used to develop appropriate policies that promote diversity in the workplace, we can see some value in it." Victorian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke also cautioned the bank against using the data in a way that breached anti-discrimination laws. ANZ conducted a similar survey in 2005, with only five complaints received from staff. Their workforce was 87% heterosexual, 3% homosexual and 1% bisexual, according to that survey. Nine per cent of the 11,000 employees who completed it did not respond to the sexual orientation question.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Saturday, 1st December 2007 - 11:22am

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