HR Strange But True!
March 11, 2010

Nicole Mamo, a veteran employment recruiter in Norfolk, UK, knew well how to write a nondiscriminatry advertisement for hospital workers that did not mention age, race, or sexual orientation. However, she was shocked when her ad was rejected as unacceptable by the newspaper because she used the terms “reliable” and “hard working,” which could be viewed as “offensive to unreliable people.”

“In my 15 years of recruitment, I haven't heard anything so ridiculous,” Mamo told the Daily Mail. “If it the matter wasn't so serious, I would be laughing out loud.”

When Mamo called the classified department about the matter, she says she heard something she found alarming--the policy was in place because there was fear at the newspaper of a lawsuit from someone claiming discrimination against unreliable people.

Mamo, fearing for the reputation of her business placing cleaners, caterers, and maintenance workers in healthcare facilities, told the newspaper “I am pleased to discriminate in that way ... if people aren't reliable, I really can't use them.”

The recruiter had previously run into a problem when she had “must speak English” in an ad, which she was required to change to “must speak English for health and safety reasons” (the workers handle hazardous substances).

The dispute over the wording of the ad drew much attention in the British media. The Department for Work and Pensions would not comment on the conversation between Mamo and a member of its staff, but The Campaign Against Political Correctness came out in her support. More importantly, the Equality and Human Rights Commission made a statement that “this is in no way in breach of any discrimination law,” according to the newspaper report.

Source: Daily Mail

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