A disability support provider has posted an ad for an in-home carer requesting that “no dark-skinned applicants” need apply.
The ad seeks a “mature” carer in the disability sector for a client with autism, and requests that “no dark-skinned (Indian or African) applicants apply for this role”.
The blatantly racist request was the wish of the client, the ad noted.
Barbara Ould, the CEO of Absolute Care and Health, which placed the ad, said she “unreservedly apologises” for the offensive ad, which she agreed was “discriminatory and offensive”.
“We absolutely agree that the job advertisement was completely unacceptable,” she said in a statement issued to HelloCare.
“We are so very deeply sorry for the offence and distress that our error has caused,” she noted.
“In no way does it reflect our core values as an organisation or any of us as individuals, or our unwavering commitment to equal opportunity within our company and our community,” Ms Ould observed.
Ms Ould said Absolute Care and Health had been contacted by many people in relation to the ad, and had issued an apology on its website.
The company “apologised personally to those who had viewed the advert and those who contacted us with their concerns”, and the organisation had also apologised to its staff, she said.
As soon as the ad was discovered, it was quickly removed from indeed.com, the website where it was posted.
The ad was published as a result of an “extreme failure” in their usual recruitment processes, and was the result of “human error”, Ms Ould said.
The company will be conducting a thorough investigation of what occurred.
An outcry from the public
Many people contacted Absolute Care and Health to express their outrage.
“We have read and we acknowledge every one of the responses we have received,” Ms Ould said.
She said she was “grateful” that so many had spoken out in opposition to the racist comments.
Discrimination and vilification “have no place”
“While we cannot undo the distress we have caused to so many, we certainly wish to be an active contributor to a healthier, happier and inclusive future where racism, ageism, ableism, discrimination and vilification have no place.”
Ms Ould said that Absolute Care and Health’s multicultural team is one of the organisation’s strongest attributes.
“The diversity of our employees has been a significant strength of our organisation since it was founded and we’re proud to work with a team made up of so many different cultures and backgrounds who deliver exceptional non-judgemental and heartfelt care to our clients,” Ms Ould said.
Racism under the spotlight
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has put the way we treat different races under the spotlight like never before.
Even those who may have not considered themselves racist are acknowledging they must learn more about the insidious constructs in our society that alienate and disenfranchise black people.
Occasionally, older people might express racist thoughts and opinions, and it’s not unheard of that they will request a carer of a particular race. The resident might have fought in a war against people of another race, and those animosities might linger. For others, the resident might be expressing the social norms of a different era.
What can carers do in these situations?
If an aged care resident expresses a desire for a carer of a particular race, it’s important to listen carefully, acknowledge that you understand what they are saying, and reassure them that any carer recruited to care for them will be the right person for the job.
It is never acceptable to recruit carers based on race. Instead, look at the person’s overall demeanor, consider how they will get on with the resident, how empathetic are they likely to be to the resident’s needs, how well qualified are they, how well past employees speak of them, and what is their past experience.
We have heard of situations in aged care where a resident may have expressed a racist view, but when they have the lived experience of a person of a certain race caring for them, they focus on the support they are grateful to be receiving. They forget about race – much to the delight of all involved.