Sydney University to defend charges of female recruitment  bias

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Sydney University to defend charges of female recruitment bias

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal will hear evidence from a failed job applicant that the University of Sydney was biased in favour of candidates who were young and female after the university failed to have a complaintagainst it dismissed.

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The Administrative Decisions Tribunal will hear evidence from a failed job applicant that the University of Sydney was biased in favour of candidates who were young and female after the university failed to have a complaint against it dismissed.

Background

The complainant claimed that in 2002, when he was aged 52, he had lodged five job applications with the University of Sydney, but in each case he hadbeen rejected in favour of applicants who were young and female. He allegedthat for each job he was better qualified than the person who was appointedand complained that in each case he suffered unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex and age.

The University applied for the complaint to be dismissed arguing that in each case the selected interviewees and successful applicants were the most appropriate candidates. It said there was no real likelihood that the complainant could establish that the selections were made on the ground ofthe sex or age of the candidates or that the applicant was selected againstbecause of his age or sex.

Findings

The tribunal said that the fact the complainant chose to represent himself and had not clarified any points of claim made it difficult to determinewhether there was a case to dismiss the case.

It noted that the University had supplied statistics which showed that for the five positions a total of 103 women and 62 men applied for theappointments of whom 26 women and seven men were selected to be interviewed.

However, it also noted that these statistics did not show the age of each of the applicants nor did it show the sex or age of the person who wasappointed to the positions.

The tribunal referred to previous cases and found that where there was a reasonable avenue for the complainant, given the opportunity to produce evidence to establish their complaint, the tribunal had erred on the side ofcaution and not dismissed the claim at this early stage.

It concluded thatin this case a dismissal would be premature and ordered the matter brought to a hearing.

See: Rochas v The University of Sydney [2004] NSWADT 14, (January 21, 2004).

 

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