We continue to see many posts, blogs and comments about discrimination in the workforce, but we have to ask ourselves, is it really discrimination or simply an employer understanding what their business needs?
A few examples of requests we have had from employers:
“this person will be working closely with a Croatian, so we do not want a Serbian, as we are concerned they will clash”
“ this person will be working in a department of 6 females, all over 40, so we do not want a person much younger than this, as concerned they will not fit in.”
“the department is full of young and vibrant staff, so a mature person would not fit in.”
“ our last 2 people in this role had left due to work life balance, as they had young children, so we do not want someone in a similar position, as we are a small business and do not have the staff to cover regular short notice absenteeism.”
“the company has a high level of outgoing male staff, many who swear a lot in the office, so they do not want a female who may be offended by this.”
“there could be some travel involved in the role, at short notice, so person with family commitments would not be ideal.”
“we deal with high end clientele, so we need person who comes from the right areas and is used to communicating with such people.”
And this of course does not get into the strict dress code some companies insist on. We have a professional corporate client who are very strict on dress code, so if person turns up for interview, not dressed to the level they expect, then they will not be considered.
There are also those clients who do not want staff with visible tattoos and facial piercings, as the role involves regular customer face to face interactions, and they feel their clients would not react well to this.
Discrimination is something everyone does in their daily life. We all form judgments about others.
In the workplace a client will often know internally what type of person he is looking to employ, based on age and gender. Is this sexism, discrimination or simply understanding what an employer needs in his business?
How many receptionists are men, and how many mechanics are female? We need to be careful we do not blur the lines. We are becoming too politically correct, and scared of offending anyone by what we say or do.
An employer knows best what his company needs, which can be based on work experience of the individual or experience the company has had with previous staff.
So, is all this discrimination, or simply an employer understanding what his business needs and wanting to recruit the right person to for the workplace culture, as we all as having the right experience?
We need to be very careful that we don’t make it impossible for employers to recruit the right person for their business.