Self-Inflicted Wounds: Carelessness

In the 1985 classic “Better Off Dead,” John Cusack’s character is given the following advice on downhill skiing: “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”  That seems pretty straightforward; almost too straightforward to bother mentioning.  What if I say you need to carefully review all written job postings to ensure that there is nothing in them that could be viewed as discriminatory.  You might nod dismissively and mutter “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in my way, turn.”  I can appreciate the sentiment but then I read something like this: “Help Wanted — 'Arrogant Americans' Need Not Apply.” 

According to this news report, an information technology staffing firm posted an advertisement for a technical writer that included the following language: “[s]omeone who is respectful and understands Chinese culture is preferred.  An arrogant American will not work well in this role."  The EEOC has already weighed in: "[i]f you make a hiring decision based on national origin, including it based on somebody being American, that would be a violation [of Title VII]."  Of course, the responsible parties are all backpedaling as quickly as possible and the ad has been taken down.  At the very least, it is a public relations embarrassment.  It is also a self-inflicted wound that could have been avoided with some proof reading. 



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