US firm apologises for seeking ‘preferably Caucasian’ candidate

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Cynet Systems posted the job advert on several job seekers’ websites

A US recruitment firm has been accused of racism after posting a job advert stating that it would prefer to hear from white candidates.

Cynet Systems listed the account manager role on a number of websites, including LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

In the job description, it said the ideal applicant would be “preferably Caucasian who has good technical background including knowledge of RPA”.

The company later apologised and removed the listing.

A screenshot of the listing went viral after it was posted on Twitter by Florida-based coder Helena McCabe.

“How could you POSSIBLY think that’s okay?” she asked the firm – to which another Twitter user added, “or legal, for that matter?

Others expressed confusion as the firm’s two co-CEOs, Nikhil Budhiraja and Ashwani Mayur, are themselves Indian-American.

What has the company said?

In a statement posted by both Mr Budhiraja and the company’s official Twitter account, Cynet Systems said it had made “a terrible mistake” and that “the concerned recruiter will be undergoing re-training”.

However, after significant further backlash, the company said the person responsible had been fired.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Mr Mayur said Cynet Systems had a policy against advertising for clients who discriminate based on race.

“We have already begun a review of all currently existing and upcoming ads to ensure no similar issues exist,” he said. “We are also looking at measures that could help us catch offensive or outside-of-policy ads before they ever go live.”

He added that his firm has two Indian-American owners and a workforce that is “over 60% minority”.

Is this job description legal?

Some suggested Ms McCabe should report the listing to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws.

According to the EEOC, it is “illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, colour, religion, sex… national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information”.

But a fellow recruiter – posting under the name Kandi – said that despite this law, such hiring practices remained commonplace.

“If only you knew,” she wrote in response to the ad. “As a recruiter I can tell you you’ll receive a ‘profile’ request like this all the time.”