London Telegraph, January 26, 2010
Nicole Mamo, 48, wanted to post an advert for a £5.80-an-hour domestic cleaner on her local Jobcentre Plus website.
The text of the advert ended by stating that any applicants for the post “must be very reliable and hard-working”.
But when Ms Mamo called the Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, the following day she was told that her advert would not be displayed instore.
A Jobcentre Plus worker claimed that the word “reliable” meant they could be sued for discriminating against unreliable workers.
Ms Mamo, a mother-of-two, from Boreham Wood, Herts., said the situation was “ridiculous”.
“I placed the advert on the website and when I phoned up to check I was told it hadn’t been displayed in the job centre itself,” she said. “She said ‘oh we can’t put that advert on the job points’. She said it was because they could have cases against them for discriminating against unreliable people.
“I laughed because I thought that was crazy. We supply the NHS with staff so it’s very important for the patients that we have reliable workers.
“We find jobs for hundreds of temporary staff every week and are proud of our workers but our reputation is at stake if they aren’t reliable.
“We are taking people off the dole and finding them jobs so not displaying the advert just seems absolutely ridiculous to me.”
Ms Mamo, who runs Devonwood recruitment agency and employs eight people, placed her advert on the Thetford Jobcentre Plus website on January 21.
A spokeswoman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness said: “This situation is absolutely ridiculous–of course people want reliable workers and of course employers should be able to ask for them.
“If they can’t advertise for what they actually want then the system is broken. They won’t be able to find workers who meet their criteria. In order to have decided that the word ‘reliable’ can’t be used they must have put a great deal of thought and time into it.
“That time could be better spent getting the right people to apply for the right jobs–which is what this advert was trying to do in the first place.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions refused to comment on the phone call made to Nicole Mamo.
She said: “We cannot comment about the phone call. I can confirm that we took the advert from the employer and put it onto our website. Every advert goes onto our website and onto the job points.
“Reliability is important to employers, as it is for Jobcentre Plus–and we welcome ads seeking reliable applicants.”