Thursday, 8 November 2012


What kind of discrimination is this?
Substantive, indirect, or what?
It is still unlawful
I have been reading a job advert for a conductor. It begins –
We are looking for a qualified, hungarian speaking conductor...
I have not seen this job requirement for a conductor advertised from anywhere else in the world. As a one-time employer (in the UK) I should never have dared publish such an announcement. I am no lawyer, and I cannot tell a substantive from an indirect discrimination, but I can smell trouble! Such a job ad could have put me before a Tribunal in no time. This is not a matter of fussy UK law, it applies by regulation across the EU there are analogous provisions in US and Australian law, and doubtless in the laws of other countries too, and the United Nations has a thing or two to say about it.
There are presumably let-out clauses, so that one may for example insist that applicants for a job as a Swedish interpreter should be fluent in that language, but I cannot immediately think of a let-out that applies to the job of conductor, requiring the Hungarian language, except perhaps in Hungary or other Hungarian-speaking areas. 
Legal niceties such as this are best left to be argued and judged by the relevant court or tribunal. There is also, of course the court of public opinion. In Sweden the cause of Conductive Education has recently been placed prominently upon the high moral ground, always a precarious perch. This is a position that may be hard to hold, in the view of disability organisations and liberal politicians, if there is a whiff of discrimination. The notion of CE around the world rallying to the Swedish cause has been mooted, with no mention of a language requirement.
Politics, enlightened self-interest, horse-trading, these are all good reason for considering this requirement's immediate (and genuine) withdrawal, or a very clear explanation of why, uniquely around the world, this apparently discriminatory language requirement is raised here.
I saw this advert only an hour or so ago. Since then I have already received an email from Australia, with the jocular suggestion that its writer might apply to see whether a few conversational phrases might qualify! Jocularity of one thing. It would be just as easy to write a formal objection.

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Anonymous Andrew said...

Move & Walk has now withdrawn the advert, and replaced it with a revised one without a requirement to speak Hungarian:

The following has appeared on Facebook –

Sorry, i didn't mean to harm anybody. Changed the words and hope it does not make anybody feel uncomfortable.

Andrew Sutton Yes, some people have indeed felt 'uncomfortable' about your ad in the times that it has appeared in the past, and have expressed themselves so – rather uncomfortably – here on Facebook. Why 'uncomfortable'? Perhaps because CE has little tradition of public but positive criticism, and people may uncertain of how to behave. That certainly applied to me when I commented on Move & Walk's advert. I did not want to offend but this is an important matter and I should not have let it pass. I hope that your prompt and open change to the advert will provide others with assurance that there is a place for friendly criticism – and that we are all the better for it.

I do hope that you are successful in filling your vacancy and that Move & Walk's reputation will be done no further harm.

Thursday, 8 November 2012 at 15:48:00 GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No.. it is still there...

Thursday, 8 November 2012 at 16:12:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

It is no longer displayed on Conductive World Market, for which as publisher I am legally responsible. A quick check, however, indicates that the ad is indeed still running in its original form on Move & Walk's own site to whom your abjection should be addressed directly. Perhaps it continues elsewhere too but none of that that is not my direct problem. Thank you for taking an interest.

Thursday, 8 November 2012 at 16:38:00 GMT  
Blogger Andrew DSutton said...

Related discussion thread on Facebook:

Saturday, 10 November 2012 at 22:13:00 GMT  

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