Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Let's Race

United States businesses aren't supposed to ask their applicants or even employees to disclose their ethnic background. However, Equal Opportunity Employer regulations require companies to track that info. See my notes from a previous blog entry for more detail about this stupid stuff.

So, you can imagine my surprise today when I had a conference call with my corporate HR boss and he asked if the new employee (K) we were replacing an old employee (L) with was black. My Gruff Boss asked why. Corp HR boss said, "Well, I just wanted to see if we were replacing a black person with another black person.

I told HR Boss that the old employee was actually white. We think he assumed she was black due to her name.

I wish I had said to him that I hadn't determined what either employee's race was because that information couldn't be used to make HR decisions.


Shmoo said...


Whatever happened to "the most qualified" gets the job?

Huffle Mawson said...

You may not be allowed to make decisions based on a person's race but we have to make allowances for indigenous people here!

Anonymous said...

I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say that your blog rocks, sad that I don't have suck a writing skills

soubriquet said...

Ha! My local city council, in Britain, which is also my landlord, sends me multilingual questionnaires on a regular basis.
These are for the equal opportunities monitoring. I send them back with all the colour and race section left unfilled.
then I get a phone call, with a very nice lady who is just trying to do her job, etc, asking me for those details, so she can complete the form. No, I say, I will not give you that information. Why not?, she asks. Because, if you truly were interested in equal treatment of all tenants, then the best place to start is by not knowing their ethnicity, country of origin, religious affiliation and so on.
If you know it, will you use it? Of course we will, that's why we need it...

And that's just why I'm not telling you.

I'm sure she still has no idea why.