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Employees (Personal Information)

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether information given by an employee to his employer concerning his personal and domestic affairs and interests could be required to be revealed subsequently to a statutory body such as the Fair Employment Agency ; and under what enactments or circumstances such revelations would have to be made.

I am not aware of any enactment which expressly provides for the requirement indicated by the hon. Member.While information of the type referred to may be relevant to an investigation under the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976 or the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, a person may not be compelled for the purposes of such an investigation to give any information which he could not be compelled to give in evidence in civil proceedings before the High Court.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has taken steps to inform employees in Northern Ireland that they are not under legal compulsion to give details of their religion to the Fair Employment Agency.

Guides to the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976, prepared by the Department of Manpower Services make it clear that the Fair Employment Agency has no power to compel a person to provide information about his religious belief if he objects to doing so. Persons inquiring about the Act at the employment service offices are provided with free copies of one of the guides.