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Job advert for ‘reliable’ workers ruled discriminatory 29, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
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A recruitment company in England sought to advertise in the Job Center for a ‘reliable worker’. In their wisdom, the staff at the Job Center turned down their application to post such a job description as it would discriminate against unreliable workers. Whilst I am loathe to describe this as ‘political correctness gone mad’ ever since seeing Stewart Lee’s fantastic sketch on the topic [below], this is as close to a perfect example of it as it is possible to get.

It reminds me of Incompetence, a Red Dwarf book by Rob Grant that I read many years ago. The scene is the United States of Europe x hundred years into the future where discrimination even on the grounds of utter incompetence is no longer allowed. Cue ensuing hilarity. A satire it may be but with this horribly Daily Hate story, fact just crept a bit nearer to fiction.

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1. Cameron’s poster graffiti « The Gulf blog - 29, January 2010

[…] He was soon criticised for having his skin ‘touched up’ and airbrushed and for the general silliness of the poster. Better yet, there has since been a rash of graffitiing of his posters as well as people doing their own. A few are below, taken from this website. […]

2. Houwari - 30, January 2010

It’s not just the public Job Centre that does this. Having “reliable worker” is a no no for private companies as well. I don’t think it’s entirely for the wrong reasons.

Some (including me) would argue that a large section of the working population may not be able to be reliable 9:00-17:30 every day and for good reason. Single mom’s and parents with kids as obvious examples.

In job advertising, often times some seemingly innocent words become codewords used for discriminatory purposes. There is a good history of this behaviour. In this instance, they may be used to turn away non single applicants.

davidbroberts - 30, January 2010

That’s an interesting perspective, though I’ve got to say that I still disagree. As far as I interpret it, ‘reliable’ does not have anything to do with being a (eg) single mom and thus not being able to do a 9-5 (at whatever…). Reliable to me means turning up when you have said you can turn up. So, you can’t make it to work (dropping kids off etc) until 10 and need to go to a doctors appointment at x and pick kids up at x – then, as long as that’s factored in and I as an employer know this, to me this does not make ‘you’ unreliable at all.

Thanks for contributing.


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