It’s hard to imagine that something as innocuous and routine as a job listing could get a company into trouble. It’s 2021; by now, everyone knows discrimination is wrong . . . Right?
It appears that not everyone knows. In mid-February, The San Francisco Chronicle posted an article about a job listing that was being called out for listing,”non-asian,” in the requirements. Yes, read it again, it actually had those words. In print. On the internet. This is a blog about Human Resources, so I can easily imagine the collective groan from our readers. It’s unacceptable, of course. The company apologized, the listing was pulled, but in a time where nothing ever really goes away on the internet, and there are screenshots to prove it, the damage was done. The company naturally said it was a mistake. "Our investigation revealed that misunderstood communication was posted by an individual with no conceivable discriminatory intent. Aptude took steps to ensure no such posts occur in the future."
While I am glad that the listing was pulled and an apology was issued, I still wonder how a miscommunication could result in a very obviously discriminatory posting. As an HR person, I care the most about what lead to this mistake being made. What systems were not in place or were not working? Why did the employee who wrote this posting not question it? Did he or she feel like asking a question isn’t okay, and that despite any misgivings, the posting must go up anyway? Did the employee really think that this statement is congruent with company values? What training is needed so this can never happen again?
It is not possible to supervise every person all of the time. Employees must be able to think independently and should be able to spot problems as they arise. If an employee can’t solve an issue, he or she should know who to ask for clarification and should do so before proceeding. It is situations like this one that underscore the importance of clear and effective communication in the workplace. It is also clear that diversity, equity and inclusion training needs to be more than reading a couple of power point slides and maybe watching a video. Every employee must know without question that discrimination is illegal and wrong and know that it is every person’s job to be compliant.
Do you have the tools to empower great decision making in your team? Do you need a complete and current training program? Schedule a time with The HR Manager to discover how our offerings can meet your needs and build prevention into your policies. You don’t want to find out you need help the way Aptude did.