Saturday, July 24, 2010

Affirmative Action Gone Wrong

From Al the Fish (via Blazing Cat Fur):
At this point in time I have to admit I used to be a swivel servant employed by the Government of Canada. While serving my time, I had the opportunity to apply for many jobs within the Public Service.

I can attest that as late as 2007, the application process involved either a paper or on-line application form. At the very end of the form, the applicant was afforded the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify if they belonged to an an underrepresented group in the Public Service. At the time the underrepresented groups included women; first nations' persons; visible minorities; and persons with a disability. The explanation for the collection of that data was that the information could be used as a tie-breaker in screening applicants. Should two persons score equally, if one fell into an underrepresented group, they could be chosen ahead of the other person, only if the competition's initial posting specified that criteria could be used.
The rest is a must read.

Woman denied government job because of race." (That would be Sara Landriault, who is white, and pictured here: "Race prevents Kemptville woman from applying for job.")


Anonymous said...

It happened/happens in federal service as well. A white woman would be know as only a "one"fer" whereas a black woman would be a "two"fer" There is a kind of unwritten sliding scale to hiring for public service:
1. Minority women
a. Black
b. Hispanic
c. Anybody except white women
2. White women
3. Minority men
a. Hispanic
b. Asian
c. Almost anyone who not a black male
d. Black males
4. White males with no military service
5. People with military service in the same order as above
6. White males with military service
There are variations on this theme from agency to agency.
It got so bad that Congress had to give extra points to veterans so they could at least get in the door. The discrimination was even worse when it came to acceptance, promotion, et al. Examples:
1. I watched a woman who worked in HR (Human Resources) after a VietNam veteran left just go on a rant about VietNam veterans and how worthless they were
2. I watched as engineers made fun of a veteran because of his disability
3. I watched as I listened to a person who was in federal service called veterans "cannon fodder"
4. If you wanted to not be discriminated against if you were a veteran you needed to ensure that you never ever mentioned your service.
I could cite more examples in promotion and other aspects, but you get the idea.
The really sad part is that a lot of expertise, skills, talents and leadership abilities were lost on the very issues that could have benefited from a system that rewarded merit instead of anything but.
I will sign this as Anonymous for a number of reasons, one of which I know what happens to "whistle blowers" from personal experience. One may not be fired, but one gets to be in a kind of "purgatory" where one gets no work assigned to them which of course denies them the things needed to progress.