Racist Job Ad Sparks Anger

Hannah Martin, The Mercury, August 28, 2012

A Coles contractor has been slammed for a racist job advert, banning Indian or Asian applicants.

The online advert was posted on Sunday, seeking cleaners for a supermarket at Eastlands Shopping Centre.

The ad in part read: “Store requires no indians or asians please. Must speak english (sic)”.

The advert, on the Gumtree website, generated outrage on social media sites, with calls for people to boycott the store and lodge complaints.

“Which supermarket is this so I can boycott them?” one Facebook user said.

“A case for the Anti-Discrimination Commission, surely,” said another.

“What planet are they on?”, asked another.

The job ad was later removed from the site.

A Coles spokesman yesterday admitted the advert had been posted by a contract company responsible for cleaning its Rosny store.

“The ad was placed without Coles’ knowledge and we were extremely concerned to learn of the ad and its contents,” spokesman Jim Cooper said.

“Coles is a proud, equal-opportunity employer and at no time have we ever issued the directives contained in this ad. We have made these points in no uncertain terms to the cleaning contractors in question.”

Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks said she wanted to track down the cleaning contractor to pursue possible legal action.

“It’s unlawful to blanket preclude a person because of their race,” she said.

Ms Banks said she often received complaints about job adverts that discriminated against particular races. She said both the company offering the position and the publisher of the advert could be subject to legal action.

“Gumtree is probably in breach [of the law] as well because the Act says you can’t publish, display, etcetera, material that is discriminatory,” Ms Banks said.

“I’ve had other ads in print form and other sites brought to my attention, which I’ve followed up with the publisher. That tends to result in it getting pulled very quickly.”

Volunteer migrant support worker Betty DeVries said the biggest hurdle for many new migrants was their English-speaking skills.

But Ms Banks warned employers not to discriminate against people with limited English skills.

“It would be arguable that requiring English is a reasonable requirement if there was a reason why [an applicant] needed to have more than a rudimentary knowledge of the language,” she said.

“Is that the case for jobs like a cleaner? Or are we creating a world that you need to be a university graduate to get any job?”

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