Sunday, October 07, 2007


As some of you know I studied Employment Law as part of my college course, when I was a student. My company are currently recruiting for some new staff. A colleague and I were talking the other day about how Employment Law has changed in this country over the years. For example job applicants now no longer have to either reveal their age or put their date of birth on a C.V. (resume). I think that’s a good thing. Many employers were becoming far too ageist and discriminating against older people. Also certain “personal” questions relating to marriage, family, religion, smoking, etc, are now off-limits and can no longer be asked at interview. Times have certainly changed and definitely for the better.

I always remember one interview I went to many years ago as a first-time job seeker. The interviewer asked me if I was Jewish and told me that his company didn’t usually employ Jewish people as they wanted too much time off for festivals and holidays! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! (The name Naomi is Hebrew Jewish and also a bible name). I couldn’t believe that people had that sort of attitude in this day and age! On another occasion, a few years ago I went to an interview and the person interviewing me looked a bit surprised when I walked in. She said to me that she hadn’t expected me to be white. The interviewer said, “Oh I thought you would be black as Naomi Campbell is black!” I remember thinking what a stupid statement that was. I couldn’t believe that companies would entrust interviews to people like that! It doesn’t give prospective candidates a very good impression of the company when you hear comments like that. Times have certainly changed a lot since then.


Aileni said...

A radiologist once asked me:
'How would you get rid of someone in the department?' I worked with this individual in another hospital and was attending the interview at his request. I was somewhat taken aback and told him you could not do that sort of thing.
I did not get the job and the person who did took one look at what he had won and refused it.

Sheila said...

Naomi, this is a great post. Many years ago, I took a class while in law school about employment law. But recently as I have looked for work, I'm sure that I have failed to get interviews because of my age. This kind of discrimination is so hard to prove though. Even though I do not list my degree dates, if an application is required, this information is usually requested.

Your examples are too funny. I guess some people never learn to keep their mouths shut.

Naomi said...

I used to work with somebody who behaved like this. It is not a nice way to be Aileni. People like that have no conscience. I don't blame the successful candidate for turning the job down. He did the right thing.

It is sad that this ageist attitude exists in our society Sheila. With maturity comes experience and reliability, but unfortunately a lot of employers don't see it like that.

Naomi said...

Forgot to say thanks for stoping by Aileni. I hope you enjoyed your visit here

RUTH said...

I'm 55 and although an application can hide it the interview sees it all. I was once asked if I was Jewish as I'm a Ruth :o)

Naomi said...

This happens all too often at interviews Ruth. Can't believe you were asked if you were Jewish too. This just shows the ignorance of the interviewers and is the height of rudeness and bad manners too.