Taking care of business – “lotsa looniea (sic) out there but doesnt mean there not good workers”.

It may be news to the bogots but business organisations really do not want racists and bigots working for them

The Australian and state public services, the state and Federal police and emergency services and the ADF quite explicitly promote a culture of inclusion and equality in the workplace.

So do Australian public companies such as BHP-Billiton, the other mining companies, GMH, retailers and Australian franchises like Baker’s Delight, Hungry Jacks, Harris Farm Markets along with the Aussie branches of their US counterparts like McDonald’s.

And employers in the US are increasingly using social media to check on the out-of-hours activities of their potential and current employees.

Mia Freedman

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Mia Freedman also mentions her own experience as a magazine editor in hiring people for positions.

Mia Freedman comment

Whatever the privacy implications, anyone making racist and bigoted posts on their public profiles are already feeling the impact of employer displeasure.

ADF Facebook page

Apparently Faye White didn’t believe this, and obviously didn’t see any connection or disconnect as she discussed trying to “out” an anti-racist with the collection of bogots she was venting to.

Hate to disappoint you Faye but being anti-racist is not a crime. Being a racist or bigot is.

Faye White

Faye White lotsaloonies

So according to Faye, there are “lotsa looniea (sic) out there but doesnt mean there not good workers”.

Again Faye will be disappointed, because it is patently obvious that racists and bigots do not make good workers.

Being a good worker in today’s business climate means:

1. Having skills and knowledge or being able to acquire them

2. Good communication skills

3. Sensitivity to diversity

4. Good customer relations skills

5. Being able to help maintain a safe and productive workplace

And just so you will know we are not making this up, take a look at extracts from some of the correspondence we receive from businesses concerned at their advertisements being associated with Facebook hate groups.

The first was an e mail from a travel company responding to an alert that their ad was being streamed to hate  groups.

Business reaction

The second is from a multinational food company whom we had likewise alerted.

Please be assured that we reject and do not have anything to do with racism or discrimination of any kind. This is enshrined in our Corporate Business Principles.

The third is from an international publication.

We have raised this issue with Facebook and asked them to remove these pages because of their offensive content. However, we cannot guarantee that Facebook will comply with our request as ultimately it is their decision as to whether they will remove the pages.

Over to you Facebook.

Read more

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Man sacked for slurs on Facebook

ADF investigate soldiers’ racist Facebook posts

Rail customer service: if you’re Jewish catch a taxi

15 thoughts on “Taking care of business – “lotsa looniea (sic) out there but doesnt mean there not good workers”.

  1. I’m kind of torn on the issue to be honest, because as much as I abhor Facebook’s hidden capacity to provide an organizational and consolidational service to hate groups, Neo-Nazis, right-wing activists and so forth; on the other hand our civil liberties and privacy is being curtailed faster than you can say “Orwell” and realistically the Internet is the last bastion of unabashed anonymity and inconsequential free speech anywhere in the world.

    I mean TAB is basically founded on the premise that your actions in the webosphere directly correlate to your everyday life outlook and personality.

    Is that necessarily true?

    I think we can agree a lot of these bogan fckwits don’t go around preaching their superiority complex agenda openly to everyone and anyone.

    At the same time, would the lads that run TAB, hypothetically if they for whatever reason were deprived of the Internet, go out in the streets, march, chant and rally to support anti-racist initiatives? Would you open up a printing press for anti-racist flyers and start holding lectures on combating racism?

    The anonymity angle goes both ways. You guys rely on anonymity to protect you from some genuinely real threats that are harbored within some of these deplorable people but at the same time you want to deprive certain people of that very same veil of anonymity, people who in all likelihood aren’t actually threatening anyone?

    If there’s one thing I believe in more than not making judgements based on racial, ethnic or national bias it’s that old Ben Franklin gem: “People who sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither.”

    You just can’t have it your way all the time in an environment as anarchistic and chaotic as the Internet.

    This is how the Internet should be, this is why print media, TV mass media, and propaganda outlets everywhere are dropping like flies, why countries are revolting and why the Western world loathes their politicians more now than during any other time in history; because somewhere through the cracks of anonymity and unadulterated, uncensored expression… the truths slips out and people find out what’s really happening.

    You start down the road of holding people accountable to online personas and extensions of themselves and it leads down a path that eerily mirrors what a lot of these extremists envision in an ideal society.
    It’s also a path every single Western government would love for us to march into willingly and by unison.

    Naturally; if you break the law, you go to jail. Doesn’t matter where that happens; you’re accountable.

    However when it concerns freedom of expression, regardless how loathsome that expression maybe, I think that’s where I would draw the line.

    How do you honestly infer from text-based opinions, a person’s true intention behind a message? Where you don’t have the luxury of face-to-face contact, body language, intonation and a sense of dignity to uphold.

    My sense of humor is rather dark and via online communication could easily be misconstrued into something heinous, whereas in reality I’m merely having a laugh.

    It’s easy to dehumanise these douchebags and think of them as a primitive stage of developement and as such they aren’t entitled to jobs, livelihoods, families or reproductive organs but have some compassion for a split-second, because if the situation were reversed and we lived in a dictatorship with an overlord keeping tabs on our every waking moment and with you being forced to defend your every utterance to adhere to a certain ideaology, it wouldn’t be fun.

    Keeping watch over your shoulder like a lunatic on the run is not something anyone should be subjected to.

    It’s all well and good to play junior CIA agent and keep tabs on bogans on Facebook and give them a little taste of their own medicine from time to time, but I do think unless certain lines are crossed (i.e. criminal), TAB does sometimes take a very authoritarian view of people with the assumption of supreme guilt right off the bat and onus on them to prove themselves otherwise to a website they have no idea even exists (most of them).

    There’s something in that methodology that strikes me as unnerving; especially if you were to be on the recieving end of it.

    • Good food for thought, cheers.

      I have no problem with what happens on this site. We aren’t misrepresenting these people.

      Conversely, I would have no problem with my opinions being broadcast on a site such as this; indeed, I often spark debates about social and global issues on facebook.

      I would be worried if some of the above people knew where I live, however. The difference being that I do not wish harm upon the above, and I think most people on this site, unlike they, would never resort to violence or scare tactics.

    • Spiro, whilst I would probably giggle and walk out if an employer asked for my Facebook login details, I think that people posting comments in public forums on Facebook are responsible for the content of same.

      We have seen it enough times in newspapers where employees get the sack because of comments they have made publicly on Facebook. People know it happens. And people need to understand that if you post something publicly on Facebook, or any social media, or anywhere on the internet, it’s not really any different to going on a TV show and saying those things. You are leaving your comments open to whoever happens to be passing by at the time. If you think to yourself “Well, my employer wouldn’t be happy about me making these comments if I was being interviewed on TV” then you need to see whatever you put out there on a public Facebook group in much the same way.

      If someone ran around in the street loudly saying the types of things that are posted on TAB, they could not be surprised or justifiably offended if someone turned around and said ‘You’re a dick’. If the person was wearing a shirt with the company logo of their employer, it would not be surprising if people called the employer and said ‘Hey… this guy with your company’s name attached to him is going around saying X and Y’.

      You noted that if people break laws, they are accountable. We do have anti-discrimination laws in this country that govern discrimination and hate speech. Government are now adding small pieces of legislation to ensure that any loopholes created by the internet are plugged – but why not? The laws already exist, and already apply to us in our daily lives, so why not on the internet? The bogots featured here are always going on about changes to ‘our way of life’ and ‘our laws’. Well, our way of life includes certain protections, and our laws include anti-discrimination legislation.

      It’s also hard to deny any government the right or need to monitor threats to the greater community, and this includes monitoring threats from right-wing nutzis. Considering the internet is rife with such information, it simply isn’t feasible to assume that there aren’t government operatives wandering the realms of the internet looking for those things. If you’re on a public Facebook wall saying you want to take a cricket bat to a boat person, you’re responsible for how that could be viewed.

      Finally, in reference to this paragraph:

      “At the same time, would the lads that run TAB, hypothetically if they for whatever reason were deprived of the Internet, go out in the streets, march, chant and rally to support anti-racist initiatives? Would you open up a printing press for anti-racist flyers and start holding lectures on combating racism?”

      I’ll skim over the part where you assume TAB is run by ‘lads’ and get to the part where you seem to assume that there aren’t already people from TAB getting out there in support of anti-racist initiatives outside of the internet. Considering the 20-odd admins at TAB, as well as numerous people who comment, are not posting personal details, you have no idea what they might be doing in their own careers or personal lives to combat anti-racism. The assumption that it’s a one-pronged approach is just that – an assumption.

      • There’s a big difference between checking out potential employees who have left their profiles on ‘public’ and actually asking people who have deliberately set their accounts to private to hand over their passwords so you can trawl through their friends, photos and comments on other pages to vet them.

        The former is to be expected if you’re too dumb to work out the account settings, the latter is a gross invasion of privacy and should be unacceptable to everyone.

        • Exactly. I wouldn’t hand over my passwords for anything to anyone. I would just thank the recruiter for their time and excuse myself.

  2. Well, I do think asking for Facebook passwords is going a bit too far. As an employee, it would definitely feel like an invasion of privacy.

    My Facebook account does not contain anything racist, but it does contain things that I would be very uncomfortable showing to a random HR manager (things like private messages from my husband and family).
    And where does it end? Will they ask me for my email password too, to see if I haven’t been communicating with the KKK in my spare time? Will they tap into my phone? Will they monitor all my communications?

    There is a limit to the vetting process, and I think asking people for personal account passwords really does cross a line.

    Having said that, I will also say that I do understand the employer’s perspective to an extent. When you’re hiring someone, sometimes what is even more important than their qualifications is their ability to get on well with people and work within a team. You certainly don’t want racist people.
    Racists, bigots and fundamentalists of all stripes are huge liabilities and can very quickly bring the most smoothly functioning teams to their knees by constantly creating conflict and fostering a tense, hostile atmosphere.
    As a manager, you always tend to be jittery about inadvertently bringing in people who simply cannot adapt themselves to the organization’s culture (which is unlikely to include racism, unless you happen to be running a Neo-Nazi newspaper or something).

    With that in mind, I’d probably jump at any chance I get to vet employees for offensive viewpoints, or hints that their attitude might not be professional. I HAVE Googled potential employees in the past, and I know a lot of recruitment specialists in HR do it too. Like Mia Friedman, I’m still not sure if it is ethical, but I did it anyway.

    I actually know people who carefully trim their Facebook profiles, so that they look good to employers.

    Whether we like it or not, our online activities ARE seen as a reflection of our real-life attitudes, and can certainly have real life consequences too. Best to be careful about what you post online.

  3. I have to disagree with this, asking for account passwords is absolutely wrong and I would never work for any company that thought it was ok to invade my privacy like that. My facebook page is set to private for a reason, because I want to restrict access to people I know and trust. I have private messages there from friends and family, pictures of my child that I don’t want any randomer seeing etc. It is exactly like asking for the keys to someones house so you can snoop through their drawers.
    No employer should have the right to invade a persons privacy. If people are stupid enough to have their accounts open to public viewing and come up in a google search then by all means view it. If employers are concerned about hiring undesirables then do a police check or ask them in the interview what their views on multiculturalism etc are. Most bogots are proud of their anti-multiculturalism stance and are happy to share it. Most places have a probationary period anyway so if someone is racist, sexist, whatever and doesn’t fit in they can be dismissed easily enough at the end of it.

    I would also be concerned about potential employers not hiring me because of posts that to me, would be innocent but to them would be a big no-no e.g. posting on atheist, pro-choice or gay rights support pages that would have no effect on my ability to do my job but to a devoutly religious boss would be enough to consider me ‘undesirable’.

    So in short, a big fat NO from me to such a gross and unnecessary invasion of privacy.

    • Well said.

      Although, to be honest, I’d be pretty reluctant to work for an employer who was enough of a fundamentalist to consider me ‘undesirable’ for my (non) religious views and pro-choice ideas. In the long term, it would have to come out at some point, and once it did, it would be sure to start affecting promotions and incentives. Sounds like a pretty lousy place to work.

      A bit like the US army’s recently scrapped “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

  4. if the online posts were the only thing stoipping someone from being hired, and it was found out it could be a case of discrimination, also i never hand out my passwords to anyone as it is breach of any websites EULA, most of them have a line stating that passwords are your responsability and not to be disclosed to anyone a breach of the EULA can lead to a closure of the account.

    • The EULA is there to cover the arse of the website owner. In reality it cannot be enforced to the extent it appears.

      Employers do not want to hire racists or bigots both because many of them personally object to having them in the workplace and because there are real OH&S implications with having someone like that working with others.

  5. A couple of key questions in all of this discussion are,
    How much is an employer entitled to know about their employees?
    Should an employer be restricted to knowing what is pertinent to the requirements for someone to perform a job?
    Does an employee have the right to privacy and to be judged only on their previous experience and employment history?

    Although I am an employer I believe that an employee does have a right to privacy and that when assessing a perspective employee you look at performance during interview, suitability through their skills and attitude by checking their references.

    In my opinion it will only be a matter of time before our government legislates to protect the privacy of employees.

    • Just to put a hypothetical on it, Gama, if you found out one of your employees was a white supremacist and you had non-white clientele, would you feel comfortable that the employee was the best person to provide the clients with the correct level of service? What if one of your customers then contacted you to say they’d seen that employee on a public Facebook page saying that he wanted to kill or maim non-whites?

      Would you think that his privacy was more important, or that the concerns of your clients (not to mention their safety) was more important?

      • That’s a hard question. The easiest way to answer is that if his/her attitude or any publication of his attitude affected my business or my customers then I would have to, legally, look at a way to remove them. If he/she had their own beliefs, did not display them and did not affect the business in any way then i would have no choice but to keep them, even if i found those beliefs deplorable. Sacking staff, especially fulltime staff, in Australia is a tricky business and you must go through the correct procedures (warnings both written and verbal, evidence of misconduct, etc) so to simply sack someone because you think they have the terrible beliefs opens you up to all sorts of unfair dismissal charges. Workers have rights and I can’t just abuse those rights because of my own feelings.

        • You can provide a filtering process in the first place. For instance many job ads (not just public service ones) provide a description of a workplace using words such as “diverse”, “equal opportunity”, they can encourage older workers to apply without breaching anti-discrimination acts, they can ask employees to sign up to EEO principles as the Public Service does.

          Above all, business owners and management can model leadership in the workplace via inclusive training courses and such procedures as simplified OH&S signage.

        • Agreed, in general, especially in the vetting process, however some of the other things work well for large companies but are not feasable for small business. I find the best thing to do is lead by example and show what is and isn’t acceptable.

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