It doesn’t matter if you’re just trying to inject some cheeky humor into a want ad, the Human Rights Commission takes discrimination very seriously. New York City’s only Welsh pub found that out the hard way, after posting an ad on Craigslist last year looking for bartenders and noting, “Being British definitely works in your favor.”
The Brooklyn pub has agreed to pay $2,500 to settle the case flagged by the HRC, as well as undergo antidiscrimination training, reports the New York Times.
“Energetic and enthusiastic men and women with an appreciation of craft beer, good food, whisky and real football (a k a soccer),” the ad read in part. “Being British definitely works in your favor.”
The couple who owns the pub had explained that they would totally hire a bartender who wasn’t British so long as she or he was qualified, but the HRC pointed to a provision of the city administrative code that prohibits employers from expressing any kind of specification relation to national origin in want ads.
While owners had initially tried to fight the HRC, the wife part of the husband-and-wife team says her lawyer advised her to take the settlement instead of going through a conciliation process with a judge and then still losing, potentially triggering higher penalties for the pub.
“My attorney said the commission made it clear to him that they didn’t care what the judge said, they would reject it,” she said.
The HRC’s general counsel denied that stance, saying, “We normally adopt the judge’s recommendations.”
Even if this whole thing feels a bit like an overreaction, there’s a fine line between such seemingly light-hearted comments and “No Irish Need Apply” or “Wearing a short skirt to the interview will give you a leg up.”
Brooklyn Pub Surrenders to Human Rights Commission [New York Times]