Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Candle ICT: Racists

The Human Rights Act absolutely prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in employment. It is illegal to refuse to offer someone a job on the basis of their race, colour, or ethnic or national origins. It is illegal to even ask an applicant for details which might indicate an intention to do so. Because of this, all newspapers now carry prominent notices in their employment sections warning that they will not accept advertisements which appear to seek to employ people only of a certain race or gender.

So I was quite surprised to be pointed at this ad from Candle ICT on TradeMe, which clearly and repeatedly states that the position is open only to Maori:

As part of an initiative to kick-start the IT careers of Maori graduates, we are seeking up to 30 graduates to take part in an internship project which will see you learning the in's and out's of being a successful business analyst.


These internships are open to all Maori graduates nationwide with training being held in Wellington and Auckland...

(Image here in case they take it down).

This indicates a clear intent to discriminate on the basis of race. It would not be acceptable to advertise a position as open only to Pakeha, and it is not acceptable to advertise a position as open only to Maori. Any racial requirement in employment is unlawful discrimination.

This isn't an inadvertent mistake; Candle is an established agency and has been around more than long enough to understand the law. They have clearly chosen to ignore it. its time for the Human Rights Commission to step in and inform them that racial discrimination is not acceptable in New Zealand.

Update: Several readers have pointed me at s73 of the Human Rights Act, which permits measures "in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons" who are victims of discrimination. So, the ad might not be illegal. But in the absence of a specific statement in the ad or from Candle, I don't think we can give them the benefit of the doubt.